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Wittenberg’s “Winter Frolic” Exhibit Ushers in Holiday Season

December 8, 2011  
 Filed in Arts and Culture, Community

Springfield, Ohio – Whether the weather outside is frightful or the fire delightful, Vernon Grant’s “Winter Frolic” offers something for everyone this holiday season at the Springfield Center for the Arts at Wittenberg University.

Officially titled “Winter Frolic: Santas, Snow & Signature Gnomes,” Grant’s exhibit, which runs through Jan. 29, 2012, reflects the artist’s youthful fascination with gnomes, which began after reading numerous books on the fantasy creatures. He once stated that “fantasy was not a study in art school. It must be developed by the individual through his personal imaginative powers.”

Declaring he wanted to be an artist at age four, Grant, by age 30, went on to create the famed Snap! Crackle! and Pop!, which he approached the Kellogg’s Ad Agency with in 1933. The Rice Krispies’ characters remain among the most recognized images in advertising today, and Grant still ranks as one of America’s top magazine illustrators. He was second only to Norman Rockwell for having the most illustrations featured on the covers of magazines at the time.

Vernon Grant adamantly believed that the most important thing in a person’s life should be the desire to do something, a “hankering,” as he called it. Born on April 26, 1902, Grant had a hankering for music and art, and loved the “good earth,” having grown up on the prairies of the Great Plains. It was there that his cousin school teacher taught him the art of illustration, an interest and subsequent talent that eventually led him to enroll in the Art Institute of Chicago.

For more than 70 years, Grant’s work not only graced cereal boxes and magazines, but also other products, including those produced by General Electric, Gillette and Hershey’s. Following World War II, he and his wife settled in Rock Hill, S.C., where he continued to work and also engage in public service. According to his bio, Grant’s “vision and ingenuity launched a host of projects aimed toward building a strong economic base” in the community, and his “innovative farming practices” made “agricultural leaders recognize him as a leader in the field.”

While he loved farming, his artistic talent continues to delight children and adults alike long after his passing in 1990. As he once carved into a mantle using Alfred Lord Tennyson as his inspiration, “The long day wanes. The slow moon climbs. The deep moans round with many voices. Come, my friends. ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

“Winter Frolic” can be viewed in the Halley Gallery of the Springfield Center for the Arts at Wittenberg University, 107 Cliff Park Road. For more information, contact jfox@wittenberg.edu.

Written By: Karen Gerboth
Artwork courtesy of the Culture and Heritage Museums, Rock Hill, S.C.

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