Defining Moments: An exhibition of works by Bryan Collier
On view Feb. 23 through April 27
Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22
The words in a book tell the story, but it is the pictures that bring the story to life. From Feb. 23 through April 27, 2008, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET) will bring to life some momentous stories from award winning children’s books with Defining Moments: An exhibition of works by Bryan Collier. An opening reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, and is FREE and open to the public.
Defining Moments includes the original artwork of rising children’s illustrator and fine artist Bryan Collier. Collier is gaining national attention for his signature style of illustrating that combines both watercolor and collage. He is the illustrator of a number of award winning books including Uptown, Freedom River (a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book), Visiting Langston, and Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (a Caldecott Honor Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and 2001 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award).
Collier’s rich watercolor and collage designs beautifully capture the told and untold stories of people who have greatly impacted American culture, and influenced the entire world. Defining Moments highlights 47 colorful and imaginative works that vividly bring those significant stories to life.
One of the many highlights of the exhibit will showcase Collier’s newest book Rosa – A Tribute to Rosa Parks (a Caldecott Honor Book). Visitors to the exhibit will have the opportunity to board a replica of the Rosa Parks’ bus and watch a video about her courageous act that changed a nation, while also learning about other heroes featured in the exhibit. 
Collier grew up in Pocomoke, Md., the youngest of six children. His interest in art started early. “At home and at school, I was encouraged to read. I liked the stories, but I really liked the pictures,” Collier has said. In 1985, he won first place in a Congressional Competition. In 1989, Collier graduated with honors from Pratt Institute with a bachelor of fine arts degree. While attending school in New York, Collier began to volunteer at the Harlem Horizon Studio and Harlem Hospital Center with a program that provides working space and materials for self-taught artists in the community. He went on to become the Program Director, a position he held for 12 years. Collier still works with the program in Harlem as a volunteer, feeling a deep sense of responsibility to be a positive role model for kids.
Defining Moments: An exhibition of works by Bryan Collier was organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene, Texas. It is funded by Texas State Bank, the City of Beaumont through the Southeast Texas Arts Council, the C. Homer and Edith Fuller Chambers Charitable Foundation, the C.W. and Dorothy Anne Conn Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, and is supported by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Saturday Read & Draw Programs
In conjunction with Defining Moments, AMSET will host a series of Saturday Read & Draw Programs, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Feb. 23 through April 12. These programs are FREE and open to the public and designed to enhance a child’s desire to read as well as his/her interest in creating narrative works of art.
All City of Beaumont Libraries and the Vidor Public Library will assist AMSET with this program. Each librarian will select two very special books, one for ages four to seven and the other for ages eight to twelve. During the Read & Draw Program, children will listen to the age-appropriate story and then create their own illustration for the story. Older students and adults are also welcome to attend and try their hand at illustrating these special books as well.
Parents are encouraged to take their children on a tour of the Defining Moments exhibit in advance to see how Bryan Collier visually tells each story. AMSET recommends that they bring their children dressed to have a messy good time with a wide range of drawing materials.
A bonus of this Saturday Read & Draw Program is that creating a narrative picture based on a story addresses the “Texas Essentials of Knowledge and Skills” that students must learn to take their TAKS tests.
“When we realized we were having this exhibition of children’s illustrations by Bryan Collier, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to incorporate an educational program like this,” said AMSET Curator of Education Sandi Laurette. “It proves that making art is more than just fun with the TAKS preparation aspect of it.”
Saturday, February 23, 2008 · 11am to 1pm  · presented by the Vidor Public Library
Saturday, March 1, 2008  · 11am to 1pm · presented by the Downtown Public Library
Saturday, March 8, 2008  · 11am to 1pm · presented by the Downtown Public Library
Saturday, March 29, 2008 · 11am to 1pm · presented by the Downtown Public Library
Saturday, April 5, 2008 · 11am to 1pm · presented by the Johns Public Library
Saturday, April 12, 2008 · 11am to 1pm · presented by the Miller Public Library
*All events are held at AMSET, located at 500 Main Street in downtown Beaumont.*

The Mission of the Art Museum of Southeast Texas is to provide education, inspiration and creative vision to the people of our culturally diverse region through our collections, exhibitions, public programs, and outreach in the visual arts.