This June 26, why not join in with the rest of Philadelphia to celebrate Jerry Pinkney day, which honors the illustrator responsible for bringing legendary folk tales and forgotten narratives to life.

jerry pinkney

The Philadelphia native began drawing at 12 years old, sketching passersby while working at a newsstand. Growing up with dyslexia, Pinkney used drawing to escape the problems he faced in school. In Contemporary Black Biography: Profiles from the International Black Community, he describes his craft as a truly transcendent experience:

"When I put a line down the only thing I know is how it should feel, and I know when it doesn’t feel right," he said. "My satisfaction comes from the actual marks on the paper… when it sings, it’s magic."

The beloved artist created visuals for childhood tales like "Little Red Riding Hood," often introducing African American protagonists into traditional European stories. Pinkney's exhibition features around 150 of his works, covering both his fairy tale imagery as well as lesser known artworks aimed at more mature audiences. "Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney" acts as a fitting tribute to the artist's dynamic career, right in the heart of his hometown.

"Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney" will run from June 28–September 22, 2013 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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  • Brer Rabbit Goes Back to Mr. Man’s Garden, Illustration from The Tales of Uncle Remus, Jerry Pinkney, 1987, ©1987 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • Take the “A” Train, Illustration from Sweethearts of Rhythm, Jerry Pinkney, 2008, ©2008 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • Cotton Club, Illustration from Sweethearts of Rhythm, Jerry Pinkney, 2008, ©2008 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • Jazz Greats (Coleman Hawkins), 1884, Illustration Unpublished, Jerry Pinkney, 1984, ©1984 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • Opening of the Red Sea, 1992, Illustration for David’s Songs: His Psalms and Their Story, Jerry Pinkney, 1992, ©1992 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • The Old African, Cover illustration for The Old African, Jerry Pinkney, 2005, ©2005 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • Mary, 2008, Illustration for African Burial Ground Interpretive Center, Jerry Pinkney, 2008, ©2008 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • Grrr (Lion Picks Up Mouse), Illustration from The Lion and the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney, 2009, ©2009 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved

  • Little Red Riding Hood Met a Sly Wolf, Illustration from Little Red Riding Hood, Jerry Pinkney, 2007, ©2007 Jerry Pinkney Studio, All rights reserved