The Start Of It All” Explores Some Of Ohio’s Untold Stories Through Children’s Picture Book Art

There are many things to love about Ohio, and they’re all featured in the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio’s latest exhibit.

OHIO: The Start of It All combines original artwork from popular picture books with facts about Ohio history and innovation, from the earthworks of Ohio’s indigenous peoples to aerospace science to the creation of comic book superheroes that shaped popular culture in the US and around the world.

Original works of children’s picture book art come from the University of Findlay’s world-renowned Mazza Museum, which houses the world’s first and most diverse collection of original picture book art.

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The exhibition’s curator, Dan Chudzinski, grew up with a sense of history. Chudzinski, who spent his formative years overseeing the Rutherford B. Hayes estate, knows that Ohio’s history had a great impact on the world.

“One of the things I heard from my students was that nothing exciting ever happens in Ohio, and that offended me personally,” Chudzinski told me, laughing. “One of the things I talk about in this exhibit is all of the ways that Ohio has changed the world and shifted culture. Things we take for granted, whether it’s the zipper on your clothes, chewing gum or flying, it all came from Ohio.”

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His unique perspective and his knowledge and respect for Ohio were evident from even a brief conversation. This is all the more amazing as visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to hear him in person during the upcoming Curator Talks on Sunday, September 25 at 2pm. Dan will be on hand to answer all your questions and share his insights into the exhibition that he worked so hard to bring to life.

Artists represented in the exhibition include some of the genre’s most celebrated illustrators and author/illustrators: Marc Brown, Rosemary Wells, and Alice and Martin Provensen, whose book The Glorious Flight won many awards including the Caldecott Medal.

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Concurrent with OHIO: The Start of It All, the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio will also host The Art of the Hidden Pictures Puzzle. This exhibition showcases Highlights for Children magazine’s iconic Hidden Pictures puzzle art, presented in the Lower Gallery

The exhibitions will be on view until December 31, 2022. Visit for more information.

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