June 20, 2007

Jim Henson's Fantastic World is Coming to Arizona Museum for Youth

Fans of all ages will be able to get a firsthand look into the imagination and creative genius of Jim Henson with the debut of “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” a new Smithsonian traveling exhibition coming to the Arizona Museum for Youth (AMY) in downtown Mesa from June 15, 2007 through March 9, 2008.

AMY is the only museum in the Southwest – and only the second in the nation – to host this unique exhibit that documents Henson’s remarkable process of visual thinking.

This may be your only chance to catch a glimpse of Henson’s legacy before it heads east of the Rockies, says Executive Director Sunnee Spencer. “We are truly honored to have been chosen as one of only a few venues in the nation to host this exhibit, as it ties directly with our mission of presenting accessible, innovative and interactive art museum experiences to children and families. We hope that Henson’s work will inspire children to become future artists.”
Items on display include:

· Several of Henson’s Muppets and Creatures (including characters from “The Muppet Show,” “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock,” “The Dark Crystal” and other productions)
· Over 100 framed works of art (including paintings, sketches, cartoons and storyboards)
· A large collection of rare photographs
· Unique production documents
· Additional artifacts and film props
· Over 30-minutes of special video presentations
· An illustrated timeline of Henson’s life and career

Organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in cooperation with the Henson family, The Jim Henson Company, The Muppets Studio, LLC, and Sesame Workshop, “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” is made possible by The Biography Channel. Additional support has been provided by The Jane Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson. The Signature Sponsors of the exhibit are The Arizona Republic, Dee and John Whiteman and the Arizona Museum for Youth Friends, Inc. The Silver Paintbrush Sponsor is M& I Bank. Additional programming support provided by the Maricopa County Library District.

The incredibly prolific mind of Jim Henson (1936-90) was a veritable celebration of ideas for wondrous creatures and characters, stories, songs, and imagery. From the earliest age, Henson drew pictures, wrote jokes, built mobiles, and planned whole worlds. He thought in three dimensions and experimented in a huge variety of media, both with still and moving images. He was fascinated with how ideas are formed, how they interconnect in the mind, and how they can be shared through the visual and performing arts.

Jim Henson's rough marker-on-paper drawings of Ernie and Bert in 1969 were all that master puppet builder Don Sahlin needed to create this unforgettable pair.

Organized with The Jim Henson Legacy, Jim Henson's Fantastic World offers audiences a rare peek into the imagination of this brilliant innovator and creator of Kermit, Big Bird, and other beloved characters. The exhibition documents Henson’s process of “visual thinking” through works of art, photographs, documents, puppets and other 3-D objects, and film and video clips. Museums may create a separate activity center with the educational and interactive resources provided.