Last week I was privileged to be a part of the inaugural Kenosha Festival of Cartooning which took place, fittingly enough, in the lakeside town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 14th-16th. Kenosha is located right between the cities of Milwaukee, Wi to the north and Chicago IL to the south, on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s a lovely little burg (actually not so little, I was told it’s the fourth largest city in Wisconsin behind only Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay) that was primarily an auto-manufacturing town until Chrysler mostly packed up and left in the early 1990’s. Since then it’s mainly a bedroom community for Chicago-Milwaukee, although it has three universities in UW-Parkside, Carthage College and Gateway Technical College. It also has an active art community with a nice museum, and a wonderful new sculpture-garden along the harbor.
The festival was organized by Anne Hambrock, wife and right-hand-woman to creator of the syndicated comic strip The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee John Hambrock, who was one of the participating cartoonists.
Besides John and myself, the guests cartoonists were Between Friends creator Sandra Bell Lundy,¬¨‚Ä†creator of Pooch Cafe Paul Gilligan,¬¨‚Ä†editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune Scott Stantis, Disney and freelance animator Tom Bancroft, and John Read, the publisher of “Stay Tooned” magazine and the curator of “One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages” exhibit. All the guest artists did presentations either at the Kenosha Public Museum, UW-Parkside or Carthage College. There were a few panels as well. I spoke to a couple of illustration classes at UW-Parkside, participated in a panel on “cartooning in the digital age” and did a presentation on the cartoonists/USO trips I’ve been on to Germany, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. I wasn’t able to catch all of the presentations as I had some work to get done, but the ones I saw were great and the entire festival was a lot of fun and I think a big success.
Here’s a podcast of a radio interview the group did with host Greg Berg¬¨‚Ä†of WGTD on the Morning Show:
John Read’s “One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages” exhibit, featuring the originals of 130 comic strips and cartoons that all appeared in newspapers on Sunday, April 11th, 2010, was really the star of the show. If you ever get a chance to see this show, do not miss it. It’s impressive enough to have such a large collection of original art from Sunday strips period, let alone the mind-boggling fact that they are all from the SAME SUNDAY.
Anne and John, other folks who helped with and sponsored the event and the people of Kenosha were tremendously friendly and hospitable. I had a great time visiting with them and the other cartoonists, some of whom I’d never met and all of whom I greatly enjoyed the company of. Hopefully there will be another Kenosha Festival of Cartooning in coming years… I’ll attend the next one as a “fan”!
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