Art from the Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay that illustrates and instructs through picture books will stimulate audiences in “Igniting the Imagination,” an exhibit with themes in science, medicine and engineering that the Museum will send to the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. from March 6 through Aug. 7.

“Any time that we can share the Mazza Museum and the University of Findlay with a different audience by exhibiting in another part of the country, we’re excited,” said Benjamin Sapp, director of the Mazza Museum. Hosted by Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences in the Upstairs Gallery of the NAS Building, the exhibit allows the Museum to reinforce the value of art from picture books by highlighting art that illustrates what’s going on in the scientific world in fun and educational ways.

“When people think of picture book art, science, medicine and engineering aren’t the first things that come to mind. Being showcased in this exhibit reinforces the importance of picture books in the world of sciences and how important it is to use these books in teaching in the classrooms and libraries across the country,” said Sapp. He explained that this idea is part of a larger movement known among some educators and corporations as STEAM that promotes the importance of adding art and design as a driver of innovation in the economy along with science, technology, engineering and math.

As Sapp and his staff selected artwork for the exhibit they chose art from the collection that focused on these scientific themes both visually and contextually in the story of the book. One of the pieces in the exhibit, “Dinosaur and Volkswagen” from Gigantic by Patrick O’Brien helps people comprehend the size of the stegosaurus by juxtaposing it with a purple Volkswagen Beetle.

“These nonfiction titles are so important to have in the classroom,” said Sapp. In total, the “Igniting the Imagination” exhibit will feature at least 24 original works of art from the Museum’s collection of artwork from picture books. Some of the other artists featured in the exhibit include Boris Kulikov, “Over Here, Cried the Crocodile” from The Eraserheads and Elizabeth Brandt, “Working on Robert in Robot Science Class,” from Building a Better Brother.

The Mazza Museum and the University of Findlay along with Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences will host a special reception Saturday, March 11, 1-3 p.m. for alumni and friends as well as members of the community. Artist Patrick O’Brien, who spoke at Mazza Summer Conference in 2003 and lives in the Washington D.C. area, will be a special guest at the reception. Known for his nonfiction books, including stories of prehistoric creatures, space travel and history, O’Brien teaches illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Registration for the event is available online at

The exhibit will be on display until early August and entry into the National Academy of Sciences Building is free, but a photo ID is required. Located at 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., the building is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and closed on weekends and holidays. Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences sponsor exhibitions and cultural events that explore relationships among the arts and sciences. For more information, visit

Founded in 1982, the Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay celebrates the joy of storytelling through the original art of picture books using education, exhibits, events and artist visits. Giving world-renowned artists a platform to share their creative process, the Museum invites people to explore the art within the story through its programs for children, adults and educators. As a unique learning and development opportunity, Mazza enhances the academic experience for all students at the University as they pursue meaningful lives and productive careers. The Museum, located in the Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion, is home to more than 11,000 pieces of artwork from picture books, making it the largest and most diverse collection of picture book art in the world. For information on events, tours and more visit

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