‘Art, Pleasure, Politics and Making a Living:
in the Loft Gallery
WHAT: “Art, Pleasure, Politics and Making a Living: 60 Years of Vera B. Williams’ Works”
WHEN: October 9 –31, 2015
Opening reception fromon
WHERE: Loft Gallery, Delaware Arts Center, 37 Main St, Narrowsburg, NY
COST: Free and open to the public
A retrospective exhibit of drawings, paintings, and graphics titled “Art, Pleasure, Politics and Making a Living: 60 Years of Vera B. Williams’ Works” opens with a reception on from in the Loft Gallery at the Delaware Arts Center in Narrowsburg, NY. The exhibit is being staged in conjunction with the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance’s 40th Anniversary Gala on , where Williams is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement award.
Vera B. Williams is an American children’s writer, illustrator, and activist. Her best-known work, “A Chair for My Mother,” has won multiple awards including two Caldecott Honors. It was recently chosen as one of the best 100 books of the past century by the New York Public Library, the first of a series of four books featuring a waitress and family with a “Bread and Roses” theme reflecting her childhood in the great depression. Published, as were all her books, by Greenwillow Books.
For her lifetime contribution as a children’s illustrator, Williams was U.S. nominee in 2004 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest recognition available to creators of children’s books. Additionally, she was awarded the 2009 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature.
Vera Baker Williams was born on Hollywood, CA in 1927 and later her family moved here and there in the Bronx, NY. Encouraged by their parents, she and her sister explored the arts at the neighborhood Bronx House, then studied at The High School of Music & Art. She went on to the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where she graduated in Graphic Arts in 1949.
Williams was one of the founders and a long time resident of the Gate Hill Cooperative Community, where her three children grew up. She was also very busy in the progressive school movement. She helped to start an alternative school in New York and then Ontario, Canada throughout the 1960s and 1970s. She had long been eager to write and illustrate books for children and got her chance to illustrate “Hooray For Me” through her friend, Remy Charlip. At the time she was living on a houseboat in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Williams has long supported nonviolent and nuclear disarmament causes. In 1981, she spent a month in Alderson Federal Prison camp following an arrest at a women’s peaceful blockade of the Pentagon. She served on the executive committee of the War Resisters League from 1984 to 1987.
Today, Williams lives in New York City and Narrowsburg, NY and remains active in local groups such as OWN (Older Womens’ Network) and participated in the 2007 PEN World Voices literary festival. She has been a part of the Upper Delaware Writers Collective. Her book, “Amber was Brave Essie was Smart,” is a narrative in poetry.
This retrospective exhibition covers over 50 years of work by the author, artist, and activist, and will include drawings, paintings, book illustrations, and political art.
The Loft Gallery is located at the Delaware Arts Center at 37 Main Street, Second Floor, Narrowsburg, NY, and is open 845-252-7576 or visit delawarevalleyartsalliance.org.through from to 5 p.m.For more information call
Portrait of Vera B. Williams, 1996
“Celebration, Double Page Spread” from “Music, Music, for Everyone,” 1984, watercolor on paper
War Resisters League Calendar, title page, 1989, watercolor on paper