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Jerry Pinkney to Visit Woodmere Exhibit Saturday

Get up close to the celebrated illustrator's storybook work at the Chestnut Hill museum.

An exhibit at Chestnut Hill’s Woodmere Art Museum highlights the work of Philadelphia native Jerry Pinkney, a celebrated illustrator and artist. This Saturday, March 4, he’ll be there in person to sign books.


Pinkney was born in Germantown about three months into World War II, in December of 1939. He began drawing when he was four and, overcoming a diagnosis of dyslexia, became a successful artist and co-founder of Kaleidoscope Studios, and later his own Jerry Pinkney Studio


The credited illustrator of over 100 children’s books, Pinkney won the Caldecott Medal in 2010 and is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, which recognizes outstanding African-American authors and illustrators. Philadelphia celebrated Jerry Pinkney Day on July 19, 2016.


Pinkney’s work is at the center of a new exhibition at the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill, “The Storybook Magic of Jerry Pinkney.” It specifically focuses on two of his works: Black Cowboy, Wild Horses  and Sweethearts of Rhythm. The museum, housed in a stone mansion near the neighborhood’s pinnacle, focuses on Philadelphia artists.

The exhibit opened January 21, and closes March 26, with a family festival and closing reception featuring performers from the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts.

On March 4, Pinkney himself, now 77, will visit the museum for a 1:30 pm book signing. Bring your own book, or buy a copy at the museum’s bookstore. At 3 pm, photographer Ron Tarver will give a lecuture about his work photographing black cowboys.

The night before, the museum is hosting a tribute concert to the Sweethearts of Rhythm, one of Pinkney’s subjects.


The works featured in the exhibition cover two different eras in American history. Black Cowboy, Wild Horses is about Bob Lemmons, a former slave who became a cowboy, following mustangs in the American West. Sweethearts of Rhythm is about the first interracial women’s swing band, which performed in the U.S. and Europe in the 1930s and ’40s.

“Illustration has been an important aspect of Philadelphia’s unique artistic climate,” William Valerio, Woodmere’s executive director, said in a press release. “Jerry Pinkney is part of a direct line that leads to Violet Oakley, N.C. Wyeth, and the many great Philadelphia artists who worked as illustrators. We are thrilled to present Pinkney’s work at Woodmere.”


Pinkney’s Caldecott Medal was for The Lion and the Mouse, but he has numerous other celebrated works, including Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion, The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit and adaptations of The Little Match Girl and The Ugly Duckling. 


Woodmere Art Museum is located at 9201 Germantown Ave., in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood. It’s open from 10 am — 5 pm Tuesday — Thursday, from 10 am — 8:45 pm on Friday, 10 am — 6 pm on Saturday, and 10 am — 5 pm on Sunday. Admission is $10, and free on Sundays. 



Illustration from Black Cowboy, Wild Horses, by Jerry Pinkney, courtesy of the artist via Woodmere Art Museum. 



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