Work of Maine artist popping up all over New York City

New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced this week it will install posters featuring the work of Maine children’s book author and illustrator Ashley Bryan in hundreds of subway stations and cars throughout the city.

Bryan, who has lived in Maine for half a century, was born in the Bronx in 1923 and spent his formative years in the Big Apple, building a passion for making his own books as early as kindergarten, as he explains in the video above.

The posters soon to be appearing throughout America’s most populous city will feature a painting by Bryan of two groups of singers, arms linked and their mouths open in song.

“The spirit of the voice harmonizes the city. It is this character of raising the voice in song which adds color to the life of all New Yorkers,” Bryan, who lives in Islesford on Little Cranberry Island, said in a statement. “At every moment I strive for connection. If you are in the moment, you are stretching out to reach that which you recognize in others. That’s my secret.”

bryan poster

As an MTA news release explains, the high-visibility posters are the latest additions to a graphic arts program started in 1991, and copies will be sold through New York Transit Museum stores to raise money for educational and exhibition programs.

The authority notes that 2.6 billion people travel on New York’s subways and trains every year, offering another level of exposure for the work of an artist who has already won a fair amount of acclaim for his children’s books.

“We are honored to work with the celebrated artist Ashley Bryan and to share his work with his hometown,” said MTA Arts & Design Deputy Director Amy Hausmann in a statement. “He was inspired by the joyful music of the city and created an image of a choral group coming together to sing. His work celebrates the millions of voices in our great city and the harmony we can achieve when we raise our voices together.”

In Islesford, the Ashley Bryan Center is raising funds to preserve and exhibit Bryan’s work, as well as launch other programs to support arts education and opportunities.

To learn more about Ashley Bryan and the Ashley Bryan Center, click here.