Jerry Pinkney Exhibit at the Charles Wright Museum

rom the deep hues used in the illustration of the classic folk tale, John Henry, to the intricate paintings in The Lion and the Mouse, the masterful use of watercolor makes the work of artist Jerry Pinkney unmistakable.

See these illustrations, and many others, at the exhibit Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on display now until Sept. 9. This is the second time Pinkney’s work has visited the museum; the first time was in 2001. This time around, the exhibit will include about 165 of Pinkney’s illustrations and original works of art.

Throughout his 48-year career, Pinkney, 72, has brought to life 87 children’s books like “Goin’ Someplace Special,” Pat McKissack’s story of a young African-American girl’s quest to get to the library in the segregated South, and an array of classics, such as “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Ugly Duckling.”

He’s also created artwork for 14 novels and has received more than 100 awards and honors for his illustrations, including five Caldecott Honor Medals, five Coretta Scott King Awards, and a spot in the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

“He’s very good at identifying his audience,” says Patrina Chatman, curator of the Charles H. Wright Museum. “He definitely knows what he likes to do, which is telling stories, and he knows his medium, watercolor, which is a difficult and challenging medium.”


Pinkney says his life has influenced his art and he’s proud of the diversity represented in his paintings.

“It has a lot to do, in many ways, with how I grew up,” Pinkney says. “What I try to do with my art is speak about my feelings or express my feelings about the world we live in.”

Jerry Pinkney will visit the Charles H. Wright Museum in mid-July for a book signing. The exact date was not available at press time. Check the museum’s website or call 313-494-5800 for more information.

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