The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature Is 25 Years Old
One of Abilene's premier museums is turning 1/4 century old, and it's time to celebrate. The 25-year-old birthday museum is the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature also known as the NCCIL aka the nickel.
The 25-year-old nickel has been a children's exclusive museum highlighting the original artwork found only in children's picture books for the last 25 years. The idea of a children's picture book museum was birthed in Abilene and led to the creation of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature.
In an effort to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this extra special children's picture book museum that put Abilene, Texas on the art world's map. A special 25th-anniversary celebration dinner will be held on Saturday, October 15th featuring special guest author and illustrator William Joyce who also helped set Abilene on its path to becoming the Storybook Capital of America.
He was then Abilene Mayor Gary McCaleb that had been invited to a local elementary school to read William Joyce's "Santa Calls" book to the school children in 1993. When Dr. MccCaleb learned that Mr. Joyce had set his story of "Santa Calls" in Abilene the Mayor was overjoyed.
After reading William Joyce's book to the school kids he reached out to Joyce and invited him to a community luncheon where during a Q&A session between the Mayor and William the concept of a place that would celebrate and honor the artwork of children's picture books that the idea of the NICCL was birthed.
Abilene would have a place where the artwork of children’s illustrators and authors would call home. Furthermore, in early 1997, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature was set up to be a non-profit.
In 1999, a statue portraying the children from the book Santa Calls, “Childhood‘s Great Adventure" by Rick Jackson, was erected downtown. On Sept. 14, 2000, the beautifully renovated 1920s Rhodes Building opened to the public as the permanent location of the NCCIL.
As of today, the NCCIL has organized nearly 60 art exhibitions and reached almost a quarter of a million people in Abilene and nationwide with free programming. Every child and family continues access to fine art experiences at no charge. The NCCIL continues to faithfully follow its mission to exhibit, tour, collect, preserve and promote original art from the finest children’s literature.
Get your tickets in advance and don't miss out on the 25th Anniversary Dinner for the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature order your tickets online or call 325-673-4586 for more info.