University of Central Missouri: From Art in Children’s Books to Making Ordinary Extraordinary, Gallery to Host Two Exhibitions

A creative hub that features works ranging from the home-grown creations of students and faculty to artists from across the country, the University of Central Missouri Gallery of Art and Design begins the 2022-2023 academic year with two free exhibitions Aug. 17 through Sept. 17. The public is invited to visit the gallery to see the presentation of “Love Calls Us to the Things of this World” and to the “Art of the Children’s Book,” an exhibit featuring the work of two illustrators.

The Provost’s Faculty Showcase will take place in the Gallery of Art and Design during the run of these exhibits and is scheduled for 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21. The show reception for “Love Calls Us to the Things of this World” is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22. The Artist Gallery Talk for the “Art of the Children’s Book,” featuring artist Stephen T. Johnson, is planned for 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, with a reception following at 4 p.m. These events are also free and open to the public.

Inspired by a poem written by author Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of this World” is a presentation that acknowledges the significance of the everyday, and presents the “extraordinary ordinary.” Each artist taking part in this show uses their unique sensibilities and talents to transform ordinary scenes in life to make them extraordinary. This show is curated by painter Amanda Millis, who has a studio at Waltham Mills in Waltham, Massachusetts, and has been recognized at exhibitions throughout the United States, Australia, and Germany. She has been awarded painting residencies at PLAYA, the Hambridge Center for the Creative Arts, Monson Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Eastern Frontier Educational Foundation, and Mount Gretna School of Art.

Amanda Millis also will be part of virtual presentation that begins at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, and will feature other artists from the exhibit. This is part of the Kleppe Visiting Artist Lecture Series, and precedes the 5 p.m. reception in the Gallery of Art and Design. Individuals who want to learn more about this event can contact Melanie Johnson, associate professor in the Department of Art and Design, at mljohnson@ucmo.edu.


“The Art of The Children’s Book” offers the works of two artists, Stephen T. Johnson and John Malta, rolled into one exhibit. Johnson offers illustrations from the book, “My Little Yellow Taxi,” and Malta will display items from “Intergalactic Moving Day.”

Malta is an associate professor of art and design at UCM who teaches illustration courses at all levels. In addition to his work at UCM, he has self-published more than 30 books, zines, anthologies, and comics, and exhibits regularly at festivals and conventions in the U.S. and abroad. He has worked on art direction and illustration projects for clients such as the New Yorker, Honda, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The New York Times, Washington Post, Hasbro and many more.

Johnson has a rich body of work that has been displayed at site-specific public, art commissions, gallery and museum exhibitions, and in original award-winning children’s books. This includes “Alphabet City,” which is a Caldecott Honor and New York Times Best Illustrated book of the year. His drawings and painting are included in the collections of individuals such singer-songwriter Paul Simon and actress Cherry Jones, and in permanent collections at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut, and the National Portrait Gallery at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Comments are closed.