The large and oddly-shaped brochure for the University Art Museum’s show Building on Imagination: Architectural Imagery in Children’s Books caught my eye in the files. Soon after, I found a hand-made prototype of the brochure, colored with marker and pasted together, with lines in place for text. I love that the brochure design itself is imaginative and inventive, echoing the towers a child might build.
The exhibition explored architecture within children books, featuring original illustrations from books such as “Kenny’s Window” by Maurice Sendak, and “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” by Gustaf Tenggren, among others. It toured around the region to 23 sites from 1989 to 1992. The Northfield News wrote of the exhibition in 1991:
“Besides examining architecture in children’s book illustrations, Building on Imagination also highlights children’s experiences of real buildings and of designing make-believe buildings with blocks or blankets in messy bedrooms. A set of stone blocks from the Victorian era included in the exhibition demonstrates the appeal architectural toys have had for children long before Lincoln Logs or Legos became popular.”
Areca Roe is a MFA graduate from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art, with a concentration in photography and minor in Museum Studies. Areca completed her project involvement in Fall 2011, and has subsequently been involved with the University as an artist in residence at the University’s Bell Museum of Natural History.