Step into the colorful and thought-provoking world of James E. Ransome. This brand-new art exhibit celebrates people, places and defining moments in Black American history as more than 50 vivid oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings are displayed throughout Children's Museum Houston's Kids' Hall.
"Everyday People: The Art of James E. Ransome" is a collection of illustrations from more than 50 children's books over the span of nearly three decades. You'll find people from all walks of life: famous, historical and everyday people. This exquisite art exhibit is sure to inspire the youngest of dreamers to dive into their creativity and learn from change-makers of the past.
“Everyday People: The Art of James E. Ransome” is organized and toured by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). It is on display through September 2020.
Growing up in North Carolina, James E. Ransome had very few opportunities to meet artists or visit museums but was still drawn to the artwork of comic book and those found in the Bible he read to his grandmother. He underwent a life-changing event as a high school freshman that set him on his life’s path, moving from the predominantly black town of Rich Square, North Carolina, to a white suburb in Bergenfield, New Jersey. Despite the culture shock, the biggest difference was the presence of art and art teachers. He said if he hadn’t attended high school in New Jersey, he wouldn’t have gone to college to pursue his passion in drawing, painting, filmmaking and photography. Ransome attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in illustration. This is where he met Lesa Cline, the woman who would become his wife, mother of his children and partner on more than a dozen books.
The Children’s Book Council named Ransome as one of 75-authors and illustrators everyone should know. He has received both the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the IBBY Honor Award for his book, The Creation. He has also received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration for Uncle Jed's Barbershop which was selected as an ALA Notable Book.
"We just visited for the first time since the closure and had such a wonderful experience! I was concerned that my 18 month old wouldn't be able to enjoy the 'older kid' activities after you reopened, but we were pleasantly surprised. There was plenty for him to do and play with, and everything was so clean! I felt I should say thank you to the entire staff for their hard work keeping the museum an enjoyable and safe experience for all."
"Great job on the cleanliness during this pandemic. Constantly disinfecting and reminding those with masks to wear them correctly. Felt safe."
"Always fun here! They did a great job maintaining a clean sanitized facility while keeping the children entertained and everyone happy. Staff are very attentive and polite ready to help you with all of your needs."
Abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth are two of the many historical figures you can find in James E. Ransome's collection of illustrations. Remember their legacy to bring freedom, emancipation and equality to all in our country.
Be inspired by the world's best known jazz artist Louis Armstrong's passion for music and all-star baseball player Satchel Paige whose love of the game attracted record-breaking crowds.
Not all of James E. Ransome's subjects are famous. History can be made and witnessed by anyone. Do you see yourself in his art?
Talk about the colors you see in the artwork. How many different colors can you point out?
What kind of things are people in the artwork doing? Have you done any of these things in your life?
Can you draw or paint one of these? Sketch your favorite piece on paper.
Do you notice any common themes or messages in Ransome's work? Why do you think that is?