Tell us about the mission of the Cartoon Art Museum.
When the Museum was founded by author and editor Malcolm Whyte in 1984, its primary mission was to collect, preserve, and display works by new and established cartoon artists. Malcolm was passionate about the works of Charles Schulz, Robert Crumb, and other artists. He wanted to bring collections of work together and share them with the public.
Since that time, our mission has expanded to include an educational component. We want to inspire future generations of artists.
Why is it necessary to have a museum dedicated to showcasing cartoon art?
Until recently, very few cartoon artists dedicated time to cataloging and preserving their own original works – a notable exception is Charles Schulz. Malcolm was integral in encouraging creators to think long-term about their work and the importance of preserving collections. Some would still say it’s a bold idea even now. Cartoon art is a legitimate form of art, but that idea does take some convincing at times.
What are some of your favourite pieces in the collection?
We have over 20 original Peanuts illustrations. Charles Schulz was a passionate and generous supporter of the museum throughout his life. I spent a lot of time reading his strips as a kid and I still love them. To be able to look at original Schulz illustrations is something I deeply appreciate.
How does the museum acquire pieces for the collection?
We are fortunate to have strong relationships with a number of artists who regularly help us expand our collection through donations of their own original artwork. We are also grateful recipients of personal collections curated by fans of the medium. Collectors regularly approach the museum to offer hundreds, even thousands, of original items. These collectors trust us to preserve and showcase the art work. They are important pieces of history.
The museum doesn’t have a budget for acquisitions so we rely heavily on donations from artists and collectors.
What do you hope visitors take away from their time at the museum?
There are a few things I hope visitors to the museum take away from their visit: I want people to understand the importance of the work and learn why cartoon art is a legitimate and respectable art form. I would love for people to discover an artist whose work resonates with them or see a longtime favourite artist’s work in person for the first time. Maybe a visit would inspire an individual to buy a new sketch book and start filling it with their own illustrations, or perhaps the visit would reignite a love of comics and graphics novels. Finally, I want visitors to have a deeper apprecition for the work the next time they read a comic or see a strip in the newspaper.
I think a visit to the museum makes all of these things possible.
Are you ready to be inspired? Visit the Cartoon Art Museum’s website for location and hours of operation.
Five questions, one fascinating person – look into the minds of movers and shakers in the nostalgia, game, play, or toy industry.