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“OHIO: The Start Of It All” Explores Some Of Ohio’s Untold Stories Through Children’s Picture Book Art

There are a lot of things to love about Ohio and they’re all on display at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio’s newest exhibition.

OHIO: The Start of It All pairs original works of art from beloved picture books with facts about Ohio history and innovations, from the earthworks of Ohio’s Indigenous Peoples, to aviation and astronautical science, to the creation of comic book superheroes that have shaped popular culture in the U.S. and around the world.

The original works of children’s picture book art are from the University of Findlay’s world-renowned Mazza Museum, home to the world’s first and most diverse collection of original picture book art.

The curator of the exhibition, Dan Chudzinski, grew up with an appreciation for history. With his formative years spent overlooking the Rutherford B. Hayes estate, Chudzinski knows that Ohio’s history has had a big impact on the world.

“One of the things I used to hear from my students was that nothing exciting ever happens in Ohio, and I took personal offense to that,” Chudzinski told me with a laugh. “One of the things I talk about in this exhibit is all of the ways that Ohio has changed the world and shifted culture. Things that we take for granted, whether it be something like the zipper on your clothes, chewing gum, or flying somewhere, that all came out of Ohio.”

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His unique perspective and his knowledge and respect for Ohio were evident even from a brief conversation. This is extra amazing because visitors to the museum on Sunday, September 25 at 2 p.m., will have the chance to hear him speak in person during the upcoming Curator Talk. Dan will be on hand to answer all of your questions and to share his insight into the exhibition he worked so hard to bring to life.

Artists represented in the exhibition include some of the most celebrated illustrators and author/illustrators in the genre: Marc Brown, Rosemary Wells, and Alice and Martin Provensen, whose book The Glorious Flight won many awards, including the Caldecott Medal.

In concurrence with OHIO: The Start of It All, the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio will also run The Art of the Hidden Pictures Puzzle. This exhibition will feature Highlights for Children magazine’s iconic Hidden Pictures puzzle art, presented in the Lower Gallery

The exhibitions will be on display through December 31, 2022. For more information, please visit