A Blue: Daniel Minter and the Layered Narrative of Illustration 



September 22 – November 10, 2023

Opening Reception with artist Daniel Minter: September 29, 5pm – 8pm

Talk at ~ 6pm

LA Arts will present the exhibit “A Blue: Daniel Minter and the Layered Narrative of Illustration” by artist Daniel Minter at LA Arts, 168 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, ME from September 22 – November 10. An opening reception for the artist will be held at LA Arts on Friday, September 29 from 5 – 8pm, with a gallery talk happening around 6pm.

“A Blue: Daniel Minter and the Layered Narrative of Illustration” explores the children’s book artistry of Coretta Scott King and Caldecott Honor winner, Daniel Minter. Using a visual vocabulary, Minter not only communicates the arc of the story, but expresses narratives within each layered illustration. Each image invites readers to explore the depth of the Black experience. Referencing the water, the crossing, the land, and desolation, Minter also tells readers how a people retained, remade, reimagined, and reclaimed themselves through their valorization to family, work, and love.

Minter’s fine art has been featured in numerous institutions and galleries including the Portland Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, The Charles H. Wright Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College, University of Southern Maine, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, The David C. Driskell Center, Bowdoin College, the Farnsworth Museum, Hood Museum of Art and the Northwest African American Art Museum. A travel grant from the National Endowment for the Arts enabled him to live and work in Salvador, Bahia Brazil where he established relationships that have continued to nurture his life and work in important ways. Minter is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from The Maine College of Art. 

The award-winning illustrator of over a dozen children’s books, Minter considers picture books a place and medium to hold crucial conversations with children. Featured in this exhibit are illustrations from his books Blue: A History of the Color As Deep As the Sea and as Wide as the Sky, So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk to Freedom, Going Down Home with Daddy which won a 2020 Caldecott Honor, The Women Who Caught the Babies, Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World Kindness, Ellen’s Broom which won a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor, and Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story which won a Best Book Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. Also included in the exhibit are the pieces he created for U.S. Postal Service Kwanzaa stamps in 2004 and 2011

In Maine, Daniel Minter’s work moves beyond the canvas and the children’s book page. As founding director of Maine Freedom Trails, he has brought the history of the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement to the streets of Portland in a series of markers. For the past 15 years Minter has used his art and voice to raise awareness of the 1912 forced removal of an interracial community on Maine’s Malaga Island. His formative work emerges from Minter’s active engagement with the island, its descendants, archeologists, anthropologists, and scholars. This dedication to righting history was pivotal in having the island designated a public preserve. In 2019, Minter co-founded Indigo Arts Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating the artistic development of people of African descent. Indigo Arts Alliance and Minter are founders of the Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival, an annual event celebrating children’s books and creators that tell the stories of the African Diaspora. 

The exhibit “A Blue: Daniel Minter and the Layered Narrative of Illustration” was curated by Kirsten Cappy of I’m Your Neighbor Books.

Since 1973, LA Arts, the arts agency for the cities of Lewiston and Auburn Maine, has pursued a mission to engage and inspire a vibrant community through arts and culture. The agency works with governments, businesses, schools and local arts and cultural organizations to create opportunities for community members across the generations to experience, learn, and participate in the arts. LA Arts organizes arts programs and initiatives, supports the work of local artists and arts organizations, and highlights the essential role the arts play in shaping an economically vital, socially integrated, and forward-looking future for its community. Learn more at www.laarts.org.

Located at 168 Lisbon Street in Lewiston, the LA Arts Gallery presents six exhibitions throughout the year that reflect and honor the Twin Cities community. Exhibiting artists generally have ties to LA or to Maine. 

With each show, LA Arts aims to bring individuals and groups together to strengthen our community through shared experiences and deeper cultural understanding.

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12 – 6PM

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