Renowned artist and hometown hero Wendell Minor to be honored in Aurora
Join the City of Aurora in honoring one of its living treasures, internationally-acclaimed artist and illustrator Wendell Minor. Minor grew up in a home on West New York Street., then called Walnut Street, and soon to be named "Wendell Minor Way."
On Tuesday, May 28, Wendell Minor will be honored at the city council meeting. It will be followed by light refreshments. The city council meets at 6 p.m. in council chambers, on the second floor of city hall, 44 E Downer Place.
On Wednesday, May 29, Minor will be honored with the renaming of the street where he grew up, on West New York, between Greenman Elementary and West Aurora High School. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., at the intersection of West New York Street and Commonwealth Avenue.
After making a visit to talk with third- to fifth-graders at a local public school, Minor will give a public talk at 6 p.m. at the Santori Public Library, 101 S. River St. He will share thoughts on his upbringing in Aurora, his love of nature, and his artwork.
After the talk, refreshments will be provided and visitors will have a chance to meet the artist. The library's collection of books by Wendell Minor will be on display at the talk and available for checkout.
All of these events are free, open to the public, and sponsored by the City of Aurora. The Artist Talk at the Santori Library is co-sponsored by the Aurora Public Library.
Minor was a charter inductee into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame as well as the West Aurora Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor. Born and raised in Aurora, Minor attended Greenman Elementary School and West Aurora High School, graduating in 1962. Minor headed to New York City in 1968, but to this day, he keeps in touch with friends from his childhood. All these years later, Minor is still influenced by his upbringing in Aurora and the surrounding farmlands. His Midwestern roots are plain to see in the humble elegance and rootedness, felt in his paintings.
Minor's career as an illustrator spans 50 years; he has created cover illustrations for more than 2,200 books and worked with writers the likes of Toni Morrison, Mary Higgins Clark, Pat Conroy, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and his wife and business partner, writer Florence Minor. The portrait of Harry Truman that Minor painted for the cover of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning David McCullough's "Truman" is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Most recently, Minor was named the Artist Laureate for 2018/2019 by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts. Minor has won more than 50 awards for his books, including the Cook Prize for best science, technology, engineering, and math picture book for children 8 to 10, the John Burroughs List of Nature Books For Young Readers, Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, Notable Children's Trade Books in Social Studies, ALA Booklist Children's Choices, International Reading Association Teacher's Choices, and the Parents Choice Foundation "Silver Honor."