I’ve admired the work of illustrator Hilary Knight for a long time, so I was delighted to learn recently that there is an exhibit at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts dedicated to Knight’s fascination and love for the theatrical world.  (In addition to this wonderful Hilary Knight’s Stage Struck World exhibit, there will be a second exhibit dedicated to Knight’s most beloved children’s book character, Eloise, opening up at the Historical Society in June.)

After my rehearsal at the David Koch Theater yesterday, I made my way around the plaza to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  The Hilary Knight exhibit is immediately visible as you enter the library.  A fabulous mural featuring Knight’s colorful characters along with an interesting video interview with Knight greets you as you walk in.

(Here’s a portion of that mural…)

The long hallway is papered with posters from Hilary Knight’s prodigious theater poster designing career.  Most fascinating is to see the different drafts and versions for each poster.

Posters for such musicals as Timbuktu…

And Sugar Babies.

Taking it all in is almost an impossibility, but the standout impression is one of joy, movement and color!

On the opposite wall are display case windows with Knight’s sketchbooks…

Pen and ink illustrations…

And, of course, sightings of Eloise.

And early ink and sepia illustration shows Hilary Knight’s talent with creating harmonious and humorous movement…

And that humor is also evident in this more serious-looking pencil illustration.

Knight’s illustrations resonate with me because they capture the human spirit in all it’s conditions, yet always do so with movement and irrepressible joy.  This is an exhibit worth revisiting…and, lucky for me, it’s not only free to the public, but it just happens to be around the corner from where I’m working these days.

And that’s certainly something to be happy about!


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