Naples Art Institute hosts Childhood Classics, original illustrations

Reporter: Jacquelyn Kisic
Published: Updated:

Get ready to recall your childhood and maybe share some of those great children’s books of the past with your own children or grandchildren.

The Naples Art Institute has on display Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Children’s Book Illustration.

childhood classics

The exhibition, located at the Naples Art Institute in the heart of downtown Naples, features 120 illustrations and 100 original illustrations by the illustrators themselves. Some art displayed dates from as early as the 20th century, in pen and drawings, to modern creators like Mo Willems.

The original artwork includes works from Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, Garth Williams’ Stuart Little, and Beatrix Potter’s Illustrations of The Tale of Peter Rabbitt.

The Executive Director and Curator of the Naples Art Institute, Frank Verpoorten, believes that illustrators are the authors themselves when it comes to telling a story tale for children.

“I believe that we don’t recognize often enough the talent that these artists have to either make a drawing or an illustration that accompanies a story that a different author wrote,” said Verpoorten. “In some cases, there’s almost no words in the children’s but in a picture book, and only illustrations to make the story come to life.”

10-year-old Lily Doherty has attended the Naples Art Institute summer classes for drawing lessons several times a week. Doherty loves to come to the exhibit to connect with this iconic childhood illustration, such as Charlotte’s Web.

“The picture would come like alive,” said Doherty, “I just feel like they (the illustrators) bring out the creativity in art. It’s just hard to make something like that.”

childhood classics

The exhibit was curated from the collection of Lois Sarkisian and Lee Cohen, co-founders of Every Picture Tells A Story, a Los Angeles-based gallery featuring children’s books.

Verpoorten explained how this exhibit has traveled the country, bringing smiles to the young and older population.

“A lot of the illustrations were made for stories that we grew up with, together with our children,” said Verpoorten. “When we remember fondly reading books, to the kids, but also to ourselves, because that is that moment that we cherish to be with them.”

The Childhood Classic art exhibit will be on display until August 11th.

childhood classics

The Naples Art Institute is open every day of the week. For hours and ticket information to enjoy the childhood classics, click here.

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