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Family-friendly exhibit “Curious Creatures” opens at the Dishman

The halls of the Dishman Art Museum on the campus of Lamar University will be enlivened this spring with the comical capers of critters large and small with the exhibitionComic illustration of mouse holding spear in tree of “Curious Creatures: Art by Ursula Vernon” April 4-26.

Vernon, a freelance illustrator, author and cartoonist, is best known for the popular children's book series, “Dragonbreath,” which features the adventures of a young dragon named Danny as he makes his way in the world.

The artist is well known as the creator of the web comic “Digger,” which was nominated for an Eisner award. Vernon is also a prolific painter and the creator of the “Biting Pear of Salamanca,” a work which became an internet meme in the form of the "LOL WUT" pear.

"‘Curious Creatures’ is an exhibition that is fun for the kid in all of us,” said Jessica Dandona, director of the Dishman Art Museum. “Ursula Vernon's whimsical creatures inhabit a world of the artist's own imagining, a world that is often charming, sometimes disconcerting, and always visually stunning. We are excited to be showing Vernon's richly imaginative drawings and to offer visitors a glimpse of the artist's creative process."

The exhibition features panels from “Digger,” a sneak peek at drawings for the seventh book in the “Dragonbreath” series, and Vernon's fantasy imagery featuring animal and vegetable creatures.

Vernon will attend the opening reception for the exhibition on Friday, April 6, and will give a brief artist's talk at the event, which begins at 7 p.m. Books will not be sold at the reception, but if guests bring them, she will sign copies of “Dragonbreath.” The reception will also feature an ice cream sundae bar, and the anime film “Spirited Away” will be screened from 8:30 – 10 p.m.  Jason Miller and Matthew Myers, co-hosts of KVLU’s “Space Capsule” will DJ J-pop – Japanese pop music – at the reception.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Dishman is hosting "Comic Spark: A Comic Book Competition for All Ages." The museum will accept submissions through April 5. Entries should be either multi-panel or a splash sheet (one image) on a single sheet of paper, no more than 11 by 17 inches in size and either color or black and white. No explicit/adult content will be accepted.

Competitors will be judged in the younger-than-18 and older-than-18 categories based on their ages. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded in each category. First-place winners will receive cash prizes and/or gift certificates to a local business, and all six winners will have their work displayed at the Dishman for one month. Vernon will judge the competition.

Visitors to the Dishman may also enjoy drawings by students at St. Anne's Catholic School, which will be on display in April in the upstairs gallery. At the end of April, the work will be auctioned to parents as a school fundraiser.

Admission to the reception and the exhibition is free.

The Dishman Art Museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is located at 1030 East Lavaca, Beaumont, Texas.  Free museum-dedicated parking is available in front of the Dishman during museum hours.  Call (409) 880-8959 for more information or visit lamar.edu/dishman.