Picture the Dream is the first exhibition of its kind to delve into the events, people, and themes of the civil rights movement through the children’s picture book. Picture books are one of the most compelling forms of visual expression, and this exhibition showcases them as an effective bridge between art and storytelling, championing aspects of the movement that are both celebrated and forgotten.
The exhibition is guest curated by award-winning children’s book author Andrea Davis Pinkney and marks the High’s fifth collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Picture the Dream will be on view at the High from August 15 through November 8, 2020, and at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art from February 7 through May 30, 2021.
Banner Image Credit: PJ Loughran (American, born 1973), Headed for Montgomery, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, 2015, written by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, india ink and acrylic with digital components. Collection of the artist.
Picture the Dream is dedicated to the foot soldiers and beacons whose lights have taken flight. Your legacies lift us. Your inspiration empowers our steps. You are angels who guide the way.
The Lasting Legacy of Activism
Bryan Collier (American, born 1967), Untitled, All Because You Matter, 2020, written by Tami Charles, collage. Collection of the artist.
The year 2020 marks the anniversary of several key events from the civil rights movement. Sixty-five years ago, in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Ruby Bridges integrated her New Orleans elementary school, and four Black students catalyzed the sit-in movement at the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. The exhibition honors these bold actions and voices of the past while highlighting the importance of activism today, in a time when the fight for justice continues nationwide.
Through Picture the Dream, titles by beloved children’s book authors and artists as well as talented newcomers come together to encourage discussion and inspire young people to be tomorrow’s agents of transformation. The presentation will include more than eighty artworks, ranging from paintings and prints to collages and drawings, that evoke the power and continuing relevance of the era that shaped American history and continues to reverberate today. The exhibition will emphasize children’s roles as activists and tell important stories about the movement’s icons, including Parks, Bridges, Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Picture the Dream consists of three sections and a short film. The first section, “A Backward Path,” investigates life and conditions leading up to the crystallization of the definitive civil rights movement. The second, “The Rocks Are the Road,” focuses on key voices and events that shaped the movement. Finally, the third section, “Today’s Journey, Tomorrow’s Promise,” explores equality in the present day, looking at what has changed and what progress can still be made. Each segment strives to display how vibrant stories for children can unpack difficult dialogues around activism and race relations in the United States.