Ashley Bryan | Artist

Through a child’s eyes, the world is full of love, hope, and joy, and artist Ashley Bryan encourages that spirit to stay alive throughout life. Bryan, an author, illustrator, puppet maker, and storyteller lives on Little Cranberry Island. Bryan attended art school at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1946 and fell in love with Maine. He spent much of his career instructing at universities across the country. When he retired from the art department at Dartmouth College in 1988, he moved to the Cranberry Isles, but never ceased teaching. His influence in Maine island schools was honored by renaming the school on Little Cranberry Island the Ashley Bryan School. Much of Bryan’s work is dedicated to retelling African folktales and African-American spirituals. He has written and illustrated over 50 books, including three that received the Coretta Scott Kind Award: Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum (1981), Beautiful Blackbird (2004), and Let it Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals (2008). For the now-91-year-old, more books and works are on the way—Sail Away will be released this year.

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