Babar’s Museum of Art

Much Anticipated TMA Exhibition Opens June 6 with FREE Admission


TYLER, TX (May 24, 2010) – The long-awaited summer exhibition Babar’s Museum of Art is just days away from opening to the public at the Tyler Museum of Art. On Sunday, June 6, the public is invited to get a first look at the exhibition for free, thanks to an anonymous donor and Mrs. Thomas C. Tracy. In addition to the exhibition’s opening, the TMA and partner organizations have planned an afternoon full of art activities, live music, puppet shows and more.

“Many hours have been spent by those of us at the TMA as well as our partner organizations, and I can speak for all of us by saying that we can’t wait to celebrate this project with the community,” said TMA Director Kimberley Bush Tomio. Babar’s Museum of Art will lead visitors through a uniquely illustrated world that places the beloved, green-suited Babar the Elephant into classical works of art. The classic character will be the leading figure in the exhibition, which showcases a collection of original watercolors and studies by Laurent de Brunhoff. The works will be on view at the TMA June 6 through August 22.

Many families from around the region have already been introduced to the story of Babar through events and activities organized by the TMA and partner organizations. Those who have not been able to attend these events will enjoy a sampling of Babar related activities and performances on the exhibition’s opening day. TMA Special Events Coordinator Caroline King Wylie says that families can anticipate an exciting afternoon and a festival-like atmosphere.

“We want opening day to be over-the-top, as big as Babar, himself!” she said. “All of the hard work we have put into this exhibition has been for the families in and around Tyler, and this is the day we will celebrate what has been a community-wide effort to bring art to everyone.” Among the activities planned for opening day will be an original puppet show adaptation of Babar’s Museum of Art performed by members of the Tyler Civic Theatre’s London Troupe, live music performed by members of the Tyler Youth Orchestra, art activities, food and refreshments, and much more.

“This is an incredible opportunity for families to come out and enjoy not just the exhibition, but also a sampling of what some of the community’s most outstanding organizations have to offer. Kids can get a first taste of classical music, see examples of fine art, and enjoy a hot dog, all at the same location!” said Tomio.

Shown in the exhibition are illustrations created for the children’s book Babar’s Museum of Art. “The book tells the story of how Babar the Elephant and his wife Celeste transform an old train station into an art museum,” says Tomio. “In the book, de Brunhoff pays tribute to artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Cezanne, and Picasso by adorning the museum’s walls with classic works of art with a clever twist – the characters depicted in those works of art are all elephants.”

The story of Babar was originated by French author and illustrator, Jean de Brunhoff, who created the tales of the famous elephant for his own children. When Jean de Brunhoff passed away in 1937, his son Laurent took over the Babar series of books. Jean and Laurent trained as fine artists, and visitors to the TMA will enjoy both the whimsical nature of the exhibition in addition to the masterful execution by de Brunhoff.

“We are thrilled to bring this exhibition to Tyler, because we believe that it will be an exciting art opportunity for everyone. Fine art enthusiasts will admire the technique so beautifully rendered by de Brunhoff in watercolor. Children will thrill to see Babar and his friends acting as figures from the world of fine art, and adults will enjoy the cleverness of de Brunhoff’s stories,” says Ms. Tomio. “This truly is a one-of-a-kind exhibition, organized by Mary Ryan Gallery, New York City, New York.”

Babar’s Museum of Art is organized by Mary Ryan Gallery, NYC. Major Sponsor is Anonymous. Supporting Sponsor is the Julietta Jarvis Foundation, Inc. Sponsors are Kay Arms and June and Steve Hillis. Collectors Circle Sponsors are the Byars Foundation, Mrs. Jack King Sr., Margaret and Jim Perkins, Myrtis D. Smith and Betty and Dick Summers. Corporate Member Sponsors are Southside Bank and Texas Oncology – Tyler. Media Sponsors are BSCENE Magazine, CBS 19-KYTX, East Texas Radio Group, KLTV Channel 7, and Piney Woods Live. The Tyler Museum of Art is supported by its members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler.

Community Partnerships

A summer filled with entertaining and educational activities has been organized by the TMA and partner organizations in Tyler and beyond. The events will feature different aspects of Babar’s Museum of Art and will allow participants to experience elements of the fabled elephant at several different locations. “In an effort to bring Babar to more people across the region, the TMA has partnered with other community organizations who have all graciously incorporated Babar into their programming. We hope this will be an opportunity to showcase the various educational and arts offerings that are available throughout Tyler and East Texas, as well as introduce more people to Babar.”

Community partners are All Saints Episcopal School French Club; Bernard Restaurant; The Caldwell Zoo; Discovery Science Place; The Lindale Library; Travel Leaders; Cameron – J. Jarvis Troup Municipal Library; Tyler Civic Theatre; Tyler Public Library; Tyler Youth Orchestra; Yoga Life by Sandy Shepard; and Young Audiences of Northeast Texas.

Schedule of Events & Activities:

June 2010
June 6, 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Grand opening of Babar’s Museum of Art with activities and performances by community partners. Free admission for everyone on opening day. Sponsored by an anonymous donor and Mrs. Thomas C. Tracy. Refreshment sponsors include Coca-Cola Enterprises Tyler, Texas; Heritage Home Health; and Legacy Hospice.

June 11, 10:00 a.m.
“Babar Story Time” at the Lindale Library. TMA will lead a special art activity during this event. Participants can listen to tall tales of Babar’s adventures and then create works of art with help from a member of the TMA’s education staff.

June 12, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Family Day with the Caldwell Zoo at TMA. Enjoy free art activities provided by the TMA, and learn interesting elephant facts from The Caldwell Zoo. Sponsored by Debra and Thomas Bochow, M.D.

June 14–17, 10:30 a.m.
“Fables & Films” featuring Babar the Elephant at the Tyler Public Library.

June 14–18 & June 21–25
TMA and the Caldwell Zoo’s Summer Art Camp, featuring Babar. Campers will discover a wide range of exciting facts about wildlife, nature and fine arts. Call 903.593.0121, ext. 228 or 229 for more information.

June 17, 1:30 p.m.
“A.B.C.’s with Babar.” Art, books and crafts at the Tyler Public Library.

June 19, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Babar Family Yoga Class with Sandy Shepard at the TMA. Parents and children will enjoy these classes which focus on gentle stretching, strength, balance, and stress reduction. Classes are held in the TMA Classroom. Space is limited; please call 903.595.1001 to reserve your place.

June 26, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
French Cooking with Chef Bernard. Children and their families will learn to prepare simple French dishes under the direction of master chef Bernard Gautier, of Bernard Restaurant in Tyler. Space is limited; please call 903.595.1001 to reserve your place.

July 2010
July 7, 2:30-3:00 p.m.
The Cameron-J.Jarvis Troup Municipal Library presents Summer Reading with Babar.

July 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Family Day with the Tyler Civic Theatre at the TMA. Enjoy free art activities and watch the Tyler Civic Th