Heroines at the Helm
Esphyr Slobodkina’s work entitled Self Portrait (1960) and seven other works by Slobodkina are included as part of the Heroines at the Helm held until September 2019 at The Whaling Museum & Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor.
Heroines at the Helm explores the impact of women who broke social bounds to affect change in a male-defined world as reflected in the arts spanning 19th century whaling wives to 20th century and contemporary female artists.
Objects from the museum’s permanent collection such as women’s utilitarian, costume, decorative, and fine arts spanning the age of 19th century whaling wives, will be juxtaposed with curated artwork of socially pioneering female artists on loan. For example, the self-portrait is displayed near some of the scrimshaw depictions of women which are similarly shaped.
In the exhibit, audiences explore how wives of whalers shaped America’s cultural heritage by breaking boundaries either at home by becoming entrepreneurial heads of households or by going to sea as social pioneers. These women pushed the confines of stereotypical Victorian gender roles, setting the stage for bold 20th century female artists who challenged traditional artistic boundaries and mapped out a new expressive freedom of their era.
To represent 20th century, female artists were chosen based on their artistic merit, impact, and struggle to be recognized as part of the artistic canon while simultaneously shaping the discipline.
Heroines at the Helm will fill a gap by illuminating the experiences of women who have been invisible in the traditional narrative of American culture within the realms of art and history, yet found ways to forge ahead despite marginalization. Reflecting these challenges as seen through art will serve as a model for the field of maritime museums, whose exhibits typically center on historically male-dominated industries and experiences.
Exhibition fee assistance now available!
As of 2018, the Slobodkina Foundation can provide assistance for full or partial grants available for our exhibitions and programs based on need and availability for all but transportation of art and travel expenses where applicable. All grants are time-sensitive and provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. Simple application forms are obtainable via email.
In addition to Esphyr Slobodkina’s permanent fine art installments, the Slobodkina Foundation offers traveling exhibitions, which include Esphyr’s fine art and children’s books, to museums, libraries, and other venues across the United States.
Programs associated with our current exhibitions are available for school, library, or civic groups.
Caps for Sale & the Mindful Monkeys Book Signing and Story Presentation
On Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 2-4:30 p.m., Rizzoli Bookstore in Manhattan will present artist and author Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer performing Caps for Sale, the Musical Narrative featuring the stories of Caps for Sale, More Caps for Sale, and the newest series installment, Caps for Sale & the Mindful Monkeys.
This entertaining and educational program is designed to engage children in an interactive musical/narrative performance of Caps for Sale and its sequels, More Caps for Sale and Caps for Sale and the Mindful Monkeys.
The Caps for Sale Musical Narrative Program goes beyond everyday storytelling. Children become immersed in this presentation as Ann Marie portrays the characters of the monkeys and Pezzo the Peddler through reading, acting, and singing. Children are encouraged to participate as monkeys in the stories through song, dance, and mimicry, or to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. The production is simple but high-energy. After the show, everyone has an opportunity to ask questions and talk about what makes the Peddler so special and different and how each of us is special and different in our way.
Caps for Sale & Other Great Tales: The History of a Storybook and its Maker
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary celebration of artist, author, and illustrator Esphyr Slobodkina’s classic children’s book, Caps for Sale, the Slobodkina Foundation, in association with author Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer, is presenting a travelling exhibition entitled: Caps for Sale & Other Great Tales: The Art & History of a Storybook and its Maker.
We invite you to join the roster of prestigious institutions hosting this family-friendly interactive experience. This exhibition coincides with the release of More Caps for Sale, the first monkey sequel to the classic tale (Slobodkina/Sayer [HC 2016, soft cover 2017]), the release of a third story, Caps for Sale and the Mindful Monkeys (2017, soft cover 2018), and the debut of Caps for Sale: The Musical, which originated from The Adventure Theatre in Washington D.C. and The New Victory Theater in New York City.
Curated by the Slobodkina Foundation, Caps for Sale & Other Great Tales: The Art & History of a Storybook and its Maker explores the life and art of Esphyr Slobodkina (1908-2002), a founding member of the influential American Abstract Artists.
It is the first exhibition to focus on Slobodkina’s work as an author and illustrator and her abstract influences on the American children’s book. It presents the fascinating story behind the making of Caps for Sale and other Slobodkina books, which were illustrated using collage technique. This exhibition includes 74 paintings, collage, illustrations, assemblages, and textiles, as well as twenty-six children’s books.
The confluence of events that challenged Esphyr Slobodkina’s life is explored through a chronological installation of art that integrates some of Slobodkina’s rarely seen works. The exhibition is augmented with live presentations and performances, audio-visual displays, and hands-on workshops.
A passion for the arts and self-reliant determination directed Slobodkina’s life. From childhood through adulthood, Slobodkina endured illness, isolation, war, poverty and prejudice. This exhibition explores Slobodkina’s resilience throughout these trials and tragedies. Through positivity, perseverance, and persistence in self-education Slobodkina ultimately achieved personal gratification as an accomplished artist and author.
Caps for Sale & Other Great Tales: The Art & History of a Storybook and its Maker is designed to instill in children of all ages with an understanding of what a self-actualized person can attain.