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30 Days of Philly Arts

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30 Days of Philly Arts: Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney at the Philadelphia Museum of Art - Day 11

The Philadelphia Museum of Art hosts many exhibitions from around the world but some of the most gratifying are from the long cultural tradition of Philadelphia itself.

On display now but not for too much longer, through September 22nd, at the Museum's Perelman Annex is Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney, a retrospective celebrating esteemed illustrator and Philadelphia native Jerry Pinkney.

Pinkney grew up in Germantown and at a young age knew that he was destined for a career in the arts, when “at some point I realized I’d rather sit and draw than do almost anything else.” He never looked back, completing his education at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and eventually opening his own freelance studio.

Pinkney went on to illustrate numerous children’s books, and has done work for National Geographic, the National Parks Service, the U.S. Postal Service and the American Library Association. He is known for using his art as a means of sharing African American cultural heritage and exploring classical literature and folktales.

Jerry Pinkney has also garnered stunning critical acclaim, most recently for his book The Lion & The Mouse, which earned him the 2010 Caldecott Medal, awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The book is an interpretation of one of the most beloved of Aesops Fables and tells it using only seven words, all of which mimic sounds.

Pinkney's other honors include five Coretta Scott King Book Awards, which are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values...four New York Times Best Illustrated Book Awards, and a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Illustrators.

Information on seeing Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney and purchasing online tickets is here.

Video shows Jerry Pinkney in his studio talking about his work: