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Book exhibit encourages children to draw


 Brookings S.D. (KELO AM) - Many parents may not have a trip to the art museum on their to-do-with-the-kids list, but an exhibit at South Dakota Art Museum has parents rewriting their list.

"The Original Art," which opened Sept. 3 and closes Jan. 5, is geared toward children 12 and younger. It features 40 illustrations from children's books and children also can create their own books from blank booklets provided by the museum.

On Saturdays, art museum guild members read to children. The final reading is 10:30 a.m. Jan. 4.

Also, each week 10 children's books featuring the exhibit's art will be out to read.

The exhibit's full title is "The Original Art: Celebrating the Fine Art of Children's Book Illustrations." Stacy Buehner, marketing and development coordinator at the art museum, said, "We've received a lot of great feedback. It's a colorful and fun and interactive exhibit for kids and families. Children also can create their own books."

With tables, crayons and blank booklets, it's the perfect setting for children to try their own hand at art.

Selections from national contest

The original artworks on the walls are selections from the 32nd annual "The Original Art" contest, a national juried exhibition created to showcase illustrations from the year's best children's books published in the United States, Buehner said.

The national organizer is the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators in New York City.

Illustrations range from a Jetsons-style cartoon drawing "If I Built a House" with a family flying away in their space car to the highly detailed and realistic drawing "Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders" to the humorous "Bawk and Roll," a picture of a cartoon chicken in an Elvis suit skydiving with an Elvis parachute. 

"It's a fantastic survey of 40 of the best children's books published within the last couple of years. This is a prestigious juried competition, so the quality of the works on display can't be beat," said Jodi Lundgren, curator and coordinator of exhibitions at the art museum. 

Exhibit includes gold, silver medalists

"It's really amazing to see what children's book illustrators are creating today. I want a copy of each of the books for my own kids," she added.

Some of the books are available for purchase in the museum store.

The exhibit includes drawings from its gold medalist, Laetitia Davernay, and the silver medalist, Steve Jenkins. Davernay's book, "The Conductor," is a wordless book about a musical conductor. Jenkins' entry is "The Beetle Book."

The exhibit includes pencil-on-paper pieces, painting on wood, and art combining digital works and hand-drawn pieces.