This week for Homecoming, The University of Findlay’ Mazza Museum will be highlighting pieces commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 first landing on the Moon. Different illustrators and authors will have their works shown off that give a Lunar feeling in their pieces, which will be displayed until the end of the year. With over 300 pieces on display in the museum, and over 14,000 pieces in storage, Mazza Curator Daniel Chudzinski gave some background on different pieces shown in the gallery.
“One that I would mention first is Wendell Minor,” said Chudzinski. “He was the ghost writer for Buzz Aldrin on that book [Reaching for the Moon]. We had him Skype in live during our open event, which was on July 20. We also have Tom Litchenheld, who we currently have an entire gallery [for]. The entire Reinhardt Gallery is all of his life’s work.”
Almost all the pieces that will be on display have worked with the Mazza Museum before. However, Chudzinski wanted to emphasize the difference between author and illustrator, as Minor was an author and an illustrator, while Litchenheld was solely an illustrator.
Along with Minor and Litchenheld’s works, there were also some pieces that stuck out to Chudzinski personally, including ones by Merrill Rainey and Christopher Canyon.
“He [Rainey] is a Maumee native,” Chudzinski commented. “He is an up-and-coming illustrator. He’s definitely making a name for himself. He does this papercut art, which is unusual, so we’re happy to display his work. The other one I would mention is Christopher Canyon. Christopher Canyon is from the Columbus area and his wife, Jeanette Canyon, is also an illustrator, they’re good friends of the museum.”
In Canyon’s original painting for “Did You Hear the Wind Sing Your Name?”, the possum shown in the painting was not originally intended, Chudzinski explained.
“It’s Native American traditions and folklore interpreted as a modern picture book,” Chudzinski stated. “When he [Canyon] showed the original art for the picture, he had an owl. They [Native Americans] said, ‘you can’t use the owl, that’s a symbol of death in our culture’. So, he was stumped as to what he could paint to still meet his deadline, and he heard something at his window that night, and he looked out and it was a possum.”
As it is Homecoming, all of the University has a special connection with what it means to them. The Mazza Museum is no exception. While not from the Findlay area himself, Chudzinski spoke on behalf of the Museum.
“I think Homecoming is the chance for us to connect with some of the alumni [and] see some of the students that have graduated that we used to work with,” Chudzinski said. “I haven’t been here that long, so this is actually the first year that some of them [alumni] will be coming back that I had worked with. I’m not from Findlay, so Homecoming to me [is that] I’m learning more about the Oiler culture and the Findlay culture a little bit more each year.”
The museum will be holding special hours for the gallery this Homecoming weekend, with special hours from 12-2 p.m. on Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.