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Your Town Greater Wausau Area: Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum opens new exhibition

Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 6:31 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - A new exhibition opened Saturday at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. The art features one illustrators’ take on children’s books, which address social issues.

The exhibition is called ‘What Might You Do? The Art of Christian Robinson.’ “My name is Christian Robinson and this is my brief but spectacular take on telling stories through pictures,” Robinson said in a video playing right at the entrance of the exhibit.

It breaks down his background, his art and why he’s doing what he’s doing.

“I actually struggled to read, and so I was definitely drawn to books with pictures,” he said in the video.

The museum’s marketing and communications manager, Amy Beck, said “The magical way he storyboards and creates magical worlds from these materials that many children have at their fingertips.”

“I was raised by my grandmother, we didn’t have a lot growing up, but I at least always had pencil, paper,” Robinson explained. “Illustrating an entire book can be really overwhelming and scary, so what I like to do is start small, tiny doodles, which are storyboards, and I do them on really tiny post-it notes.”

Beck explained that his art gives people the opportunity to think for themselves and spark creativity. “But also to spark conversation within the galleries,” she said.

“It’s important for me to tell stories that reflect the diverse world we live in.” That’s because of the way Robinson addresses social issues.

“I liked the ‘dead bird’ it kind of brings a charming twist to something as a child you might find, not a dead bird and what do you do with it,” one visitor from the Upper Peninsula, Megan Frazer said.

“Pictures books, especially, are like many children’s first introduction to the world. Seeing yourself is almost like a message, it’s saying ‘you matter..’” Robinson explained in the video. “Children need to see themselves in books, they need to see their gender, their color, hair texture, their disability...themselves!”

“He often didn’t see himself reflected in the artwork he saw,” Beck explained.

“I just love that, you know, so much could be communicated in just an image,” Robinson said in the video. Beck added that “The inclusiveness that is important for all of us to value and to see depicted.”

The museum does not charge for admission. The Christian Robinson will be open through the end of February 2022.

To learn more about the museum, click here.

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