Art in Town

Area Museums

Art by the River

Art In Trenton

Art in the Workplace

Corrections or additions?

This article by Phyllis Maguire was prepared for the November 13,

2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Storybook Bears’ Empire

Nike. Xerox. Berenstain.

At first glance, the last name in this series of famous brands may

seem out of place. After all, Stan and Jan Berenstain, the 79-year-old

husband-wife author-illustrator team, have lived in the same Bucks

County community since 1976 and have only one full-time assistant

between them — hardly the hallmarks of grasping business moguls.

But consider the fact that they have written more than 230 books

featuring

the Berenstain Bears, an often bumbling, always endearing ursine

family

known to every American who’s had any relationship with a child in

the last 40 years.

Consider too that their books have sold more than 280 million copies

and have spawned prime-time TV shows, as well as a Saturday morning

cartoon series with brisk video sales and distribution in 50 different

countries. Factor in the McDonald’s Happy Meals, theme park

attractions,

games, dolls, and candy, as well as the commercial tie-ins with Texaco

and Kellogg’s, and the daily TV series that will debut next year on

PBS.

Add them all together and you have an instantly identifiable,

staggeringly

successful global property. But according to a jovial Stan Berenstain,

in a phone interview from the couple’s home in Solebury, Pennsylvania,

their empire grew out of a fortuitous partnership with a savvy editor

and the couple’s own desire to be together.

"We weren’t thinking about anything," he says, "except

making a living and having fun."

This fall, the Berenstains added two new achievements

to their long roster: They published an autobiography entitled

"Down

A Sunny Dirt Road," a reference to the famous Bear Country address

they created, and are enjoying their first museum retrospective at

the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown. The exhibit, which

features more than 180 pieces, chronicles their long evolution in

magazine illustration, book publishing, and animation.

The Berenstain brand started with two city kids who loved to draw.

The artists, who have been married since 1946, didn’t grow up on a

sunny dirt road, but in Philadelphia during the Depression where they

each had parents out of work and families that moved repeatedly.

They met on their first day of art school at the Philadelphia Museum

School of Industrial Art. Their budding romance took a detour during

World War II when Stan became a medical artist, working for plastic

surgeons in an Army hospital in Indiana, while Jan became a real-life

"Rosie the Riveter." She eventually made the couple’s

engagement

rings out of aircraft aluminum.

Stan sold his first gag cartoons while still in the military, line

drawings with one-line captions, New Yorker style. When the two

married

after the war, they launched themselves as a husband-wife cartoonist

team, settling on family cartoons (of humans!) as their niche. They

hold the record for the most cartoons in any single issue of the

Saturday

Evening Post — six — and created two dozen cartoon covers

for Collier’s.

Magazine work led to cartoon humor books with titles like "Marital

Blitz" and "Have A Baby, My Wife Just Had a Cigar," with

the authors drawing on their own experiences as a couple and as

parents.

They also had a regular cartoon feature called "It’s All in the

Family" in McCall’s — but realized by the end of the 1950s

that big changes had come to magazine publishing.

"TV was just starting to crush magazines at that time,"

Berenstain

says. "Magazines still had great circulation, but the advertising

pie didn’t expand enough to accommodate all the dollars going into

television."

Just about that time, their older son asked for "McElligot’s

Pool"

for Christmas, introducing his parents not only to the work of fellow

cartoonist Dr. Seuss, but also to the idea of doing children’s books

themselves.

Several publishers turned down their first effort, but then they

scored

a contract with Dr. Seuss himself, Ted Geisel, the editor of Random

House’s new "Beginner Books" line. They arrived at Geisel’s

New York office to find the individual pages of their submission —

"Freddy Bear’s Spanking," their first work featuring a family

of bears — tacked up on his office walls. They learned that Geisel

had served his own World War II stint making patriotic films with

director Frank Capra.

"Capra was very much a practitioner of the technique of

storyboarding,

which Ted picked up from him and we picked up from Ted," says

Berenstain. With the pages displayed, Geisel — (who "thought

we had a good beginning and end, but no middle," Berenstain

recalls)

— could zero in on the parts of the story that needed work.

"When you look at a book as a series of pictures, you can readily

see whether or not the story is `moving,’ " Berenstain says.

"You

can see that the story is not advancing much in the third picture,

for instance, or there may be too quick of a transition between the

fourth and the fifth pictures."

Geisel also suggested that they "script" their story,

imagining

it cast with human actors who would lend the characters distinctive

personalities and mannerisms. After many rewrites, "Freddy Bear’s

Spanking" transmogrified into "The Big Honey Hunt"

introducing

Papa Bear (with his trademark blue overalls) and son, Small Bear.

The book incorporated a paradigm — Papa Bear giving his son a

valuable lesson by way of a bad example — that the authors have

used repeatedly to great success. Writing it, the fledgling authors

kept Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in mind in the father-son roles.

Following the book’s publication in 1962, Geisel warned

them not to consider doing a series, which would only become "

`a millstone around your necks,’" the Berenstains report in

"Down

a Sunny Dirt Road." And he insisted they stop doing books with

bears, a genre Geisel claimed was already — with Yogi and Smokey

— too crowded. Fortunately, while the Berenstains took pains to

create a new penguin character, "The Big Honey Hunt" was

garnering

big sales. At their next meeting with Geisel, the editor waved aside

their penguin entry, reversing course and ordering them to follow

up their "Honey Hunt" sales with another Bear Country saga.

Their second book, "The Bike Lesson," featured two Geisel

gimmes. The editor changed their byline from "Stanley and

Janice"

to "Stan and Jan," which they’ve kept ever since.

And he put a promotional box proclaiming "Another Adventure of

the Berenstain Bears" on the book’s cover, pointing out that the

moniker — which he said suggested a vaudeville act — would

help sell books.

"He changed the nature of what we were doing," Berenstain

says, "from a normal author-illustrator team to creating a

property."

They did more than a dozen titles with Geisel, then branched out in

1973 into slim paperbacks about first-time experiences for the Bear

Family children — going to the dentist, having a sleepover,

getting

in trouble at school. Many "First Time" story ideas came from

the Berenstains’ own children and grandchildren.

"We thought at the time that maybe we’d do five or six of

them,"

Berenstain says. "At last count, we’ve done more than 60."

Their "First Time" books are the centerpiece of their media

empire, with more titles on the way. The Sunny Dirt Road residents

are about to buy their first computer — and have the first death

in the family, although only a goldfish will succumb.

Editors and readers have urged the authors to tackle

tougher subjects — like divorce — in their books, but they

have demurred. "We don’t think divorce is very funny and most

of our books are funny, so we haven’t tried to do that," says

Berenstain, pointing out that there are no shortage of excellent books

on tough topics for children.

"Our vision in life isn’t to instruct people about a particular

thing like death or cancer or divorce or auto accidents," he

continues.

"Our mission in life is to keep going down the sunny dirt road,

because that’s what our life’s about." Introducing such a topic

in Bear Country would be "like wanting Ginger Rogers and Fred

Astaire to play Romeo and Juliet," he says. "That might have

worked if they’d danced."

In truth, the Bears have confronted their share of thorny topics in

"The Berenstain Bears and the Drug-Free Zone," "The

Berenstain

Bears No Guns Allowed," and "The Berenstain Bears and the

Sinister Smoke Ring," a vigorously anti-smoking book suggested

by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.

The authors even penned "The Berenstain Bears and the Big

Question"

("Mama, what’s God?") that Berenstain says he was reluctant

to do, worried that "Jerry Falwell would picket our house."

Instead, even the evangelical press gave the book a good review —

although one reviewer pointedly asked why it was the first time the

Bear Family had gone to church in 30 years.

"Well, they’ve gone to the supermarket only once too, and to the

dentist only once," Berenstain points out. "Once is

enough!"

The characters’ signature blend of wisdom-in-humor, as well as their

reliance on family and community, are modeled on the authors’ own

tightly-knit lives; sons Leo and Michael, one a writer and the other

an illustrator, have now joined their parents’ publishing dynasty.

The Berenstains’ eventful 60-year career is extensively documented

in the Michener Museum exhibit that includes their earliest artwork

as well as their most recent work, with original drawings and

sketchbooks.

The exhibit also features videos and a game board where museum

visitors

play the game pieces, as well as hands-on stations for drawing bears

and gag cartoons. The authors themselves will be at the museum on

Sunday, November 24, for a public interview and book signing session.

Not bad for a couple of kids from Philadelphia. But then, "if

you hang around long enough," Berenstain notes cheerfully,

"people

are going to notice."

— Phyllis Maguire

The Berenstain Bears Celebrate: The Art of Stan and Jan

Berenstain ,

James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. The authors’ first retrospective, organized by the

Norman

Rockwell Museum and curated by David Leopold. Show coincides with

the publication of "Down a Sunny Dirt Road: An Autobiography"

(Random House). Admission $10 adults; $7 students. To January 12.

Special events include "A Berenstain Bears Family

Day,"

Sunday, November 17, 2 to 4 p.m.

Interview and book signing with Stan and Jan Berenstain,

Sunday, November 24, at 1 p.m. ($20).

Museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;

Saturday

& Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m.

www.michenerartmuseum.org.

Top Of Page
Art in Town

Anne Reid Art Gallery, Princeton Day School, Great Road,

609-924-6700. Jules Schaeffer Retrospective with more than 30 found

object-welded sculptures, assemblages, monoprints, and works on paper.

Gallery is open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To November 14.

Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, 609-924-7206.

Exhibition

of decorative and functional weavings by Princeton artist Armando

Sosa. A native of Salcaja, Guatemala, Sosa weaves his dreams on

handmade

looms creating scenes of soccer games, bullfights, and kite flying.

Open by appointment during school hours, show runs to December 20.

Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158

Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "From Tow Path to Bike Path:

Princeton

and the Delaware and Raritan Canal," an exhibition on the history

and creation of the canal, the life of death of its workers, and

recent

environmental and preservation issues. Open Tuesday to Sunday, noon

to 4 p.m. Show runs to March, 2003.

Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street,

609-497-4192.

Dining room show of original paintings by Livy Glaubitz. Part of

proceeds

benefit the Medical Center. Show may be viewed daily from 8 a.m. to

7 p.m. To November 13.

SweeTree Gallery, 286 Alexander Street, 609-934-8665.

"One World, One Love," a vibrant show of art, crafts, and

jewelry featuring work by two area artists: ceramics by Erica Barton

Haba and glass art by Ed Steckley. Also on exhibit, hand-painted

Haitian

silk, paintings, ceramics, and other arts from the Caribbean. Open

Fridays and Saturdays, 1 to 6 p.m., and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. To

December

24.

Triumph Brewing Company, 138 Nassau Street, 609-924-7855.

Jorge Armenteros, owner of Little Taste of Cuba, introduces

"Artista

Cuba," a show of contemporary Cuban folk art. To December 31.

Area Galleries

Abud Family Foundation for the Arts, 3100 Princeton Pike,

Building 4 Suite J, Lawrenceville, 609-896-0732. The foundation

established to promote Ibero-American art inaugurates its gallery

program with a solo show featuring 24 paintings by Spanish artist

Juan Manuel Fuentes. Show runs to November 24. Gallery is open to

the public by appointment, Wednesday to Friday, 1 to 8 p.m., and

Saturday

and Sunday, 10 to 3 p.m.

Created by area neurosurgoen Ariel Abud and his family, the foundation

plans to promote the contemporary arts of Spain, Latin America, and

Central America. The foundation plans to award stipends to three to

four artists each year, with an invitation to travel to the U.S. and

exhibit work in the Lawrenceville gallery.

Artful Deposit Gallery, 201 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown,

609-298-6970. Group show by Eugene Maziarz, Joe Kassa, and Ed DeWitt.

Open Thursday to Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m.. Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To

December

15.

Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell, 609-333-8511.

Exhibition of works by members and their guests including Selena

Persico,

Peter Roos, Robert Borsuk, Ken Kaplowitz, William van der Veer, Nancy

Ori, and Frank Magalhaes. Techniques range from platinum prints to

manipulated Polaroids. Open Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To

November 17.

Holroyd Gallery, 35 West Broad Street, Hopewell,

609-466-0556.

In the Broad Street Antiques Center, a gallery featuring the oil,

pastel, and watercolor paintings of Olga Holroyd. Open Wednesday to

Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hopewell Frame Shop, 24 West Broad Street, Hopewell,

609-466-0817.

"Sky Flowers," paintings by Hartini Gibson. Open Tuesday to

Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To December

24.

Montgomery Center for the Arts, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery

Road, 609-921-3272. "Oil and Water," an exhibit of watercolors

and oils by Diana Wilkoc Patton and Larraine C. Williams. The artists

will be at the galleries painting, weekends through December 8.

Artists’

reception is Sunday, November 17, 1 to 4 p.m. Open Tuesday to Friday,

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.

Morpeth Gallery, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell,

609-333-9393.

"Recent Paintings" by Stephen Kennedy. Apprenticed to

internationally-known

Nelson Shanks during the 1970s, the Fort Washington artist is best

known for his commissioned portraits. Gallery is open Wednesday to

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To November 30.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. Annual juried members show featuring

award winners Erena Roe, Gary Briechle, and Liz Mitchell. Juror was

Barbara Madsen of Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. Gallery

hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1

to 4 p.m. To January 18.

Triangle Art Center Gallery, Route 1 and Darrah Lane,

Lawrenceville, 609-296-0334. Garden State Watercolor Society sixth

annual Associate Member Juried Exhibition, judged by Betty Stroppel

and Ed Baumlin. To November 22.

Top Of Page
Area Museums

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton,

609-292-6464. "Cultures in Competition: Indians and Europeans

in Colonial New Jersey." Show traces the impact of European

settlement

on the native Indians’ way of life after 1600. "Searching: New

Jersey Photographers and September 11," works by Stanley Brick,

Donna Clovis, Donald Lokuta, and Phil McAuliffe; to November 24.

Museum

hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon

to 5 p.m.

On extended view: "Art by African-Americans: A Selection

from the Collection;" "New Jersey’s Native Americans: The

Archaeological Record;" "Delaware Indians of New Jersey;"

"The Sisler Collection of North American Mammals;" "Of

Rock and Fire;" "Neptune’s Architects;" "The

Modernists;"

"New Jersey Ceramics, Silver, Glass and Iron;" "Historical

Archaeology of Colonial New Jersey;" "Washington Crossing

the Delaware."

Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788.

"Cezanne

in Focus: Watercolors from the Henry and Rose Pearlman

Collection,"

an exhibition of 16 rarely-seen works on paper by the precursor of

modern painting. Organized by Laura Giles, associate curator of prints

and drawings, the exhibition celebrates the publication of the first

scholarly catalogue on these watercolors which span the entire range

of Cezanne’s career. On long-term loan to the museum since 1976, the

works are rarely shown due to their sensitivity to light. To January

12.

Also "Beyond the Visible: A Conservator’s Perspective;" to

January 5. "Lewis Baltz: Nevada and Other Photographs," an

exhibition of recently acquired photographs and series by Lewis Baltz;

to January 19. "Earth’s Beauty Revealed: The 19th-Century European

Landscape;" to January 12. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.

to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Highlights tours every Saturday at 2

p.m.

Milberg Gallery, Firestone Library, Princeton University,

609-258-3184. "Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders, and Book

Designers," a Milberg Gallery exhibition curated by Rebecca Warren

Davidson. Show runs to March 30, 2003.

Bernstein Gallery, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson

School, Robertson Hall, 609-258-1651. "After September 11,"

an exhibition that explores how the work of area artists has been

influenced by the events surrounding September 11, curated by Kate

Somers. Artists represented: Robert Beck, Eleanor Burnette, Thom

Cooney

Crawford, Alan Goldstein, Margaret Kennard Johnson, Amy Kosh, Ken

McIndoe, Barbara Osterman, Margaret Rosen, Ludvic Saleh, Sheba

Sharrow,

and Madelaine Shellaby. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.

to 5 p.m. To December 1.

Lawrenceville School, Gruss Center of Visual Arts,

Lawrenceville,

609-620-6026. In the Hutchins Gallery, Annual Faculty Exhibition with

Brian Daniell, Allen Fitzpatrick, Jamie Greenfield, Leonid Siveriver,

William Vandever, and Ed Robbins; to November 2. Also opening

"Building

a Teaching Collection: New Acquisitions in Photography," to

November

18. Gallery hours, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon; and 1 to 4:30

p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.

Gallery at Mercer County College, Communications Center,

609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "The Faculty," paintings by Mel

Leipzig

of his MCCC colleagues. To November 7.

Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20

Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Mountain Tops," an exhibition

of miniature landscape sculptures of natural stones and sand by

William

Brower, poet, sculptor, and seminary faculty member emeritus. Gallery

hours are Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 to

8 p.m. To November 30.

Raritan Valley College Art Gallery, North Branch,

908-218-8876.

Faculty Group Show by 26 full-time and adjunct faculty members in

painting, ceramics, photography, sculpture, graphic design, drawing,

and video. Open Monday 3 to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, noon to 3 p.m.;

Wednesday,

1 to 8 p.m., and Thursday, noon to 3 p.m. To November 21.

Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center,

Lawrenceville,

609-895-5589. "This and That: The Art of Michael Ramus," a

retrospective show featuring the paintings, drawings, and

illustrations

of the Princeton-based artist. Gallery hours are Tuesday through

Thursday,

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. To December 17.

Zimmerli Art Museum, George and Hamilton streets, New

Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Exhibitions include: "Paul Signac: A

Collection of Watercolors and Drawings"; to January 19.

"Russian

Cover Design, 1920s to 1930s: The Graphic Face of the

Post-Revolutionary

and Stalinist Periods"; to March 30. "Sonia Delaunay: La

Moderne,"

celebrating the accomplishments of the key figure (1885 to 1979) in

the development of 20th-century abstraction; to December 28.

Also "Yurii Dyshlenko: Abstraction, Modernity, and Mass

Media;"

to January 12. "The National Association of Women Artists

Collection

at Rutgers," to December 8. "Ben Shahn: The Rilke

Portfolio,"

to December 31. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to

4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Spotlight tours every

Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m. Admission $3 adults; under 18 free; and free

on the first Sunday of every month.

Top Of Page
Art by the River

ABC Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street,

609-397-0275. "Prints, Paintings and Progression," group

exhibit

by Bette Baer, Laura Blasenheim, Merle Citron, John Marcus, Lola

Wykoff,

and others. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday

1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To November 22.

Artsbridge, Canal Studios, 243 North Union Street,

Lambertville,

609-773-0881. November group show by Robert Allen, Connie Campbell,

Sheila Coutin, Wendy Gordon, Daniele Newbold, Jeane Nielsen, Nancy

Shelly, and Sandra Young. Open Thursday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

To December 1.

Artists’ Gallery, 32 Coryell Street, Lambertville,

609-397-4588.

Shared show of works by artists Peter Petraglia and Leonard Restiva

featuring an eclectic blend of realistic, impressionistic, and

abstract

paintings. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m.

to 6 p.m. To December 1.

Atelier Gallery, 108 Harrison Street, Frenchtown,

908-996-9992.

"Another Woman’s Dream," a group show of works by Stacie Speer

Scott, Kim Robertson, and Angela Del Vecchio. Open Thursday to Sunday,

noon to 5 p.m. To December 2.

Robert Beck Painting Studio, 21 Bridge Street,

Lambertville,

609-397-5679. Bob Beck’s "Excursion" series, part of his

American

Road series, painted on site in Maine, Washington, D.C., and Bucks

County. Also featured is his Mississippi River series painted in

September

aboard a working tow-boat pushing barges from St. Louis to New

Orleans.

Open Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., and weekdays by

appointment.

To November 17.

Coryell Gallery, 8 Coryell Street, Lambertville,

609-397-0804.

Fall exhibition features New Jersey artists, Alexander Farnham and

Charles McVicker. Farnham, a noted landscape painter, is known for

his interest in patterns of light and shadow. Open Wednesday to

Sunday,

noon to 5 p.m. To November 17.

Travis Gallery, 6089 Route 202, New Hope, 215-794-3903.

"A Celebration: Our Land and Its Bounty," a one-man show of

watercolors by Don Patterson. The artist has been elected to the

American

Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, and is an honorary

life member of the Philadelphia Water Color Society. Open Tuesday

to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Closed Monday.

To November 30.

Top Of Page
Art In Trenton

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park,

609-989-3632.

Tom Kelly, Jack Knight, and Isabella Natale, an introspective and

humorous show by three area artists. Also "Crowns: Portraits of

Black Women in Church Hats" by Michael Cunningham. Museum hours

are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

To November 10.

Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Fall/Winter Exhibition. In the Museum, new work by glass

artist Dale Chihuly, to April 6, 2003. In the Domestic Arts Building,

work by winners of 2002 Outstanding Student Achievement in

Contemporary

Sculpture Award, to January 10, 2003. Regular park admission $4 to

$10.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday

is Members Day. Adult admission $4 Tuesday through Thursday; $7 Friday

and Saturday; and $10 Sunday. Memberships start at $55.

Top Of Page
Art in the Workplace

Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Route 206, Lawrenceville,

609-252-6275. "Up the River, Now" an exhibition of works by

contemporary painters in the Delaware Valley area. Artists include

Elizabeth Augenblick, Joseph Barrett, Robert Beck, Malcolm Bray, Tom

Chesar, Anne Cooper Dobbins, Suzanne Douglass, Evelyn Faherty, and

James Feehan. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends and

holidays, 1 to 5 p.m. To December 1.


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