The Mulvane Art Museum opened July 22 with a new exhibit inspired by a book about a boy and trees. It tells the story of a boy who investigates different trees and decides he would like to be as tall as a one while a cottonwood tree wishes be free to walk around like a boy.
The young boy talks to the old cottonwood tree and gains some of its wisdom. At one point there is a bit of magic and the boy and the tree trade places. What they learn becomes an education not only for them but for those who read the book. The boy stands tall, experiencing the tree’s memories and the tree gets to explore all around gaining experiences through the boy’s memories.
The book is called “The Tree Who Walked Through Time—A Tree Identification Book.” It is a children’s book written by Lawrence, Kan. author Maureen Carroll. The exhibit will run through Aug. 2.
“The major points of the book are so children can understand about the different trees growing in Kansas,” said Julie Myers, Mulvane Museum curator.
There will be a book reading, reception and book signing at the Mulvane Art Museum Saturday, July 26. There will also be a sale of the original artwork that illustrates the book. All sales will go to benefit art education in Kansas, including at the Mulvane Art Museum programs and the Art Lab.
“All art is for sale, including the prints made from the art.” said Myers. “They are inexpensive to purchase and many of the 18 artists will be here to sign their work. The author and artists are taking no profit for their work in order to donate to the children’s art programs.”
In a media release, the author Maureen Carroll said she wrote the arboreal book because she wanted to “introduce fine art to children and use art to help them identify different kinds of trees.”
“Ultimately I wanted to serve the purpose of conservation by creating an emotional connection to trees,” said Carroll.
Throughout the exhibit there are quotes from child artists on the walls such as:
“I liked the drawing because we could either do an abstract or a real picture.”
“Drawing is really my favorite because I liked making my self-portrait abstract—that way it didn’t have to be perfect.”
“Splatter painting is my favorite of all time. I felt free while I was painting.”
And one young painter declared “I loved painting to music. I liked painting to the songs and I liked how the music made me feel while I was painting. Painting is the best.”
Visitor Vicki McFarland brought her grandchildren and their friends to see the exhibit at the opening.
“This artwork is beautiful,” said McFarland. “We came to see this exhibit before going downstairs to the Art Lab.”
“They’re cool,” said McFarland’s granddaughter Grace Kennedy, who pointed out her favorite pictures.
The Mulvane Art exhibit is free to the public and open during regular museum hours.