Happy Holidays from The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum! | Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and MuseumBilly Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

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Happy Holidays from The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum!

As 2019 reaches its close, we want to extend our deepest thanks to everyone who has visited us this year, donated materials, or provided financial gifts that help us continue our operations. As patrons and donors, you are an essential part of our mission to inspire the study and appreciation of cartoon and comics art by collecting, preserving and making materials accessible for research, teaching, exhibitions, and educational programming. We would not be able to do this important work without your support!

Year in Review

2019 brought over 9,000 visitors through our galleries!

From April through October, we featured two unique exhibits: Ohio State professor Jared Gardner curated Drawing Blood: Comics and Medicine which traced the relationship between cartoon art and medicine from the 18th century through today. Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell and Pulitzer-Prize winning political cartoonist Ann Telnaes co-curated Front Line: Editorial Cartoonists and the First Amendment which examined free speech through historical works as well as contemporary works by members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. In early November, we opened Ladies First: A Century of Women’s Innovations in Comics and Cartoon Art which will remain on display in the Robinson Gallery until May 3, 2020. This exhibit, curated by Caitlin McGurk and Ohio State PhD candidate Rachel Miller, ushers in the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and calls attention to the transformative work of women artists in the field of cartooning then and now. Drawn to Presidents: Portraits and Satiric Drawings by Drew Friedman, a survey of the political portraits from Friedman’s impressive career, is currently on display in our Friends of the Libraries Gallery through February 9, 2020.

Throughout the year, we hosted and cosponsored a wide array of exciting events and educational programs:

* An intimate workshop with cartoonist Carol Tyler on the healing potential of comics

* An artist talk by graphic novelist Leila Abderazaq

* A presentation about Shojo manga by Dr. Frenchy Lunning

* A partnership with the Ohio Union Activities Board to host the first-ever Ohio State student Comic-con

* The Will Eisner Week Comics Studies Forum featuring Dr. Kate Polack and three Ohio State graduate students presenting their research on various aspects of comics.

* A two-day Continuing Education Workshop for French teachers on using bande dessinée in the classroom.

* A celebration of Barbara Shermund and women New Yorker cartoonists by Liza Donnelly

* A discussion with Goosebumps creator and Ohio State alum R.L. Stine about his career and his new graphic novel series

* A conversation about cartoons and the first amendment with attorney Floyd Abrams and Lucy Caswell.

* A conversation between illustrator C.F. Payne and Drew Friedman about Friedman’s portraits and satiric drawings of U.S. presidents.

Finally, in September we celebrated our 5th anniversary of partnering with Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) and SÕL-CON for an annual city-wide comics festival. This year the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists held their annual convention in conjunction with the festival as well. Dog Man and Captain Underpants author Dav Pilkey brought thousands of young readers to campus for a sold-out event at the Wexner Center for the Arts. BICLM’s sponsored guest for 2019, Ho Che Anderson, gave our visitors a glimpse into his process of creating the ground-breaking graphic biography, King, about Martin Luther King, Jr. This year’s festival also saw the first launch of two new focused programming tracts that ran throughout the weekend: workshops and readings for kids, and LGBTQ-centered panel discussions.

Over the past year, we welcomed more than 800 researchers to our reading room to use our collections, including two Lucy Shelton Caswell Research Award recipients, Dr. Susan Kirtley and Frank Santoro.

We encourage everyone to check out our blog and follow us on social media, where we regularly post about some of the amazing acquisitions we receive. Donors were particularly generous during this past year, and we could not be more excited about the artwork, publications, papers, and other materials we added to our permanent collection.

In March, we expanded our staff with the addition of Anne Drozd, our first Museum Coordinator! Anne oversees our museum exhibitions and educational programming.

Looking Ahead

In 2020, we are excited to host the traveling exhibition Making Faces: Portraits by John Kascht from February 15 through May 3. And, if you are reading this letter, you’re among the first to know about two exciting new exhibits opening in the summer of 2020: an exhibition of Walt Kelly’s beloved Pogo, curated by Lucy Shelton Caswell and Jenny Robb, and a fun exploration of beloved cartoon dogs from throughout comics history, curated by Brian Walker. In conjunction with the cartoon dogs exhibit, we are proud to be collaborating for the first time with OSU’s Urban Arts Space gallery on an exhibition of Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell’s comics-inspired paintings. We are also thrilled to share that our exhibit Tell Me a Story Where the Bad Girl Wins: The Life and Art of Barbara Shermund, will be on display at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio from January 25 through April 26, 2020.

We are looking forward to 2020 and participating in Ohio State’s sesquicentennial celebrations!

Happy New Year!

Jenny Robb, Wendy Pflug, Caitlin McGurk, Susan Liberator, Marilyn Scott, Kay Clopton, Anne Drozd and Kristy Arter