The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats

April 10–September 7, 2014

About the Exhibition

This exhibition showcased the evocative world of the pioneering author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), featuring more than eighty original works by the artist. Ranging from preliminary sketches and preparatory books to final paintings and collages, the works displayed in The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats explored a life and career that became an inspiration for generations of readers and authors.

Show details

Keats was born Jacob Ezra Katz to Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn. His landmark book The Snowy Day (1962), which won the prestigious Caldecott Medal, was the first modern, full-color book to feature an African American protagonist. Published during the height of the civil rights movement in America, the book paved the way for multiracial representation in children’s literature.

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats exhibition featured works on loan from the de Grummond Children’s Literary Collection of the University of Southern Mississippi, including examples of Keats’s most introspective but less-known output inspired by Asian art and poetry. At the Skirball, the exhibition also invited visitors to take part in imaginative play inspired by Keats’s art, such as story writing and shadow making.