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To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood exhibit at the ICA/Boston

Last month I had the pleasure to attend a special family-friendly press event at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston for its exhibit "To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood" (October 6, 2022–February 26, 2023; see also upcoming exhibition tour dates).

Curator Ruth Erickson led an exhibition tour that I could have listened to for many more hours; sensitive to kid attention span, she wisely gave brief overviews of each room, then selected individual pieces to discuss. A Faith Ringgold quilt brought great excitement ("I've read that book!" "Me too — I have it in my school!"), as did a very lifelike sculpture of a little girl ("I thought she was real!"), and a dynamic, ambulatory piece ("Wait, did that just move?!"). 

A highlight for Horn Bookers is the photo of our founder Bertha Mahony Miller with the Book Caravan, in the Reading Room section of the exhibit. Sink in, rest weary feet, and browse the well-selected titles.

After the tour we participated in some creative and enjoyable hands-on art making, led by artist Elisa Hamilton, on themes of identity and individuality. Then my family doubled back to the Yayoi Kusama Love Is Calling exhibit (dots!) and browsed the rest of the museum plus gift shop (with my friend Theresa's book). Note that Saturday morning was not too crowded, and we'll go back again soon: the ICA offers a +1 membership for kids under eighteen. "Kids and teens can visit the museum for free anytime and bring a guest (your +1!) for free with every visit."

Thanks to Ruth Erickson, Jeffrey De Blois, and all of our new ICA/Boston friends; and to Simmons University Library Archivist Jason Wood for tracking down that original Bertha picture.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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