Rockland museums to participate in Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival

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ROCKLAND — Two Rockland art museums will participate in Indigo Arts Alliance’s third annual Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival, along with Portland and Lewiston. 

Joining Indigo Arts Alliance this year in its celebration of Black children’s books and their creators from across the African Diaspora, are eight community partners holding events in three Maine cities over the weekend of September 17-18.

This year’s festival, honoring the legacy of Black children’s book creator and artist Ashley Bryan, will feature a 4,500 book giveaway, the production of acclaimed media, and live events in Portland, Lewiston, and Rockland. Each featured book and event will provide an opportunity for young readers of color to see themselves reflected in literature created with them in mind and to interact with the authors and illustrators as role models and storytellers.

Join Rockland’s Center for Maine Contemporary Art and Farnsworth Art Museum for an afternoon read aloud and art activities. Artist Veronica Perez will join attendees at the CMCA courtyard to read a selection of books followed by art making workshops in the ArtLab and Gamble Education Center.

Galleries will be open at the Farnsworth featuring solo exhibit Ashley Bryan: Beauty in Return.

Artists of all ages are encouraged to attend this free event, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., at Center for Maine Contemporary Art (21 Winter St.), and Farnsworth Art Museum (16 Museum St.).

The Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival was founded in 2020 by Indigo Arts Alliance in partnership with I’m Your Neighbor Books and Diverse BookFinder and is produced with the 2022 partners: The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Ridah Ridah, the Farnsworth Museum, LA Arts, and the Lewiston Public Library.

The Festival was created to honor the legendary and highly acclaimed children’s author and illustrator Ashley Bryan, whose award-winning picture book Beautiful Blackbird is a celebration of Blackness. Maine’s own Ashley Bryan was one of the first Black writers and illustrators of children’s books, opening the doors for Black book creators worldwide to add their contribution to children’s literature and encourage the publication of other children’s books for Black children. The Festival seeks to educate and entertain children, and brings attention to the critical need for more characters from the African diaspora in children’s literature.


Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) is a Black-led organization dedicated to the professional development and amplification of Black and Brown artistic vision and practice. Founded in 2018 and formally launched in 2019, IAA is an incubator space with a mission to build global connections by bringing together Black and Brown artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in creative process through an Artists in Residency program. Visit indigoartsalliance.me to learn more and support their work.

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