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Indepth Arts News:

"From Mickey to the Grinch: Art of the Animated Film"
2002-06-22 until 2002-08-25
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Wausau, WI, USA United States of America

The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum welcomes 20th century film legends to Wausau when "From Mickey to the Grinch: Art of the Animated Film" opened on June 22. Before there was Shrek or Buzz Lightyear or Roger Rabbit, there was Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Pinocchio, Dumbo, the Jetsons and Flintstones, Pogo, and a half-century’s worth of ’toon personalities – all painstakingly hand-drawn by scores of animators. "From Mickey to the Grinch" pays homage to these characters and the processes that brought them to life.

Among the nearly 160 works comprising the exhibition, all drawn from the collection of animator George Nicholas (1910-1996), are animation cels, animation and concept drawings, and model sheets – the all-important prototypes that ensured each character was rendered consistently from sheet to sheet. Scripts and assignment sheets and other film ephemera also provide a look into the art of classic film animation – an art form that gave rise to today’s computer-generated and manipulated films.

Nicholas spent a long, successful career working with such major animation studios as Walt Disney, Chuck Jones, Walter Lantz, MGM, and Hanna-Barbera. His collection explores the art, history, and process of American animation art from its early beginnings in the 1930s up through the revival of full-length feature films in the mid-1970s.

The timing of "From Mickey to the Grinch" couldn’t be better since old-fashioned hand-drawn films are making a comeback this summer after years of being overshadowed by computer animation. Dreamworks’ "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" and Disney’s "Lilo & Stitch" are, according to John Horn in Newsweek (May 27, 2002), "challenging the conventional wisdom that gee-whiz technology attracts audiences."

Whether old, young, or simply young at heart, Woodson Art Museum visitors can relive the joy they experienced – and still feel – while watching cartoon film classics like Walt Disney Studio’s Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia, and Lady & the Tramp. Favorite characters like Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Tom (the cat) are among the Woodson’s guests during "From Mickey to the Grinch" as are characters from popular animated television shows including Dr. Seuss’s Horton, Yogi Bear, and Quick Draw McGraw.

An added attraction to the summer’s playbill is the Animation Station, where visitors can create their own animations – frame by frame – from characters they draw or make using cut paper, clay, or action figures. Built-in video production equipment allows tapes to be replayed on a monitor or recorded on a videocassette to take home. Also, classic animated films can be viewed at two stations in the galleries.

From Mickey to The Grinch: Art of the Animated Film was organized by the Erie Art Museum, Erie, Pennsylvania. The presenting sponsor is the Wausau Daily Herald/Gannett Foundation.

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