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ATLANTIC CITY - Explore art and literacy at the “Imagine” art show at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University this month.

Detailed watercolors by award winning illustrator E.B. Lewis will be featured in the Atlantic City Chapter of the Links, Inc. 47th Annual Black History Month Art Exhibit until March 27.

“E.B Lewis is a really incredible local artist. He has studio space in Hammonton, and we are just so thrilled to have him here. It’s also a wonderful way to get the youth in,” said Shana Zimnoch, assistant to the director at the Noyes Arts Garage.

Children 12 and younger who visit the exhibit with an adult through March 13, while supplies last, will receive a certificate for a meet and greet with the artist. These youngsters will be treated to a private reception with Lewis, and they will each receive a free signed book that he illustrated.

The E.B. Lewis exhibit features framed original watercolors from around the world as well as a portion of the more than 70 books that the Folsom artist illustrated. Having a local artist on exhibit always draws a crowd, but having an artist that is so well-known for children’s books is attracting a broader audience to the Noyes Arts Garage because families are coming so their children can see the illustrations and sign up to meet the artist, said Vicki Biron, an assistant at the Noyes Arts Garage.

One day an African American woman came to the exhibit with her two children. Zimnoch said the woman had been at the library looking for books with drawings that her children could associate with. They learned of the E.B. Lewis display, and were quickly huddled on the floor of the Stockton Noyes Gallery reading books together.

“If you could have seen them. The way they were huddled next to their mom and the sun was shining in on them. It was beautiful,” said Zimnoch.

Also, several area teachers are visiting the exhibit because they had spent years reading the books to their students.

Kathleen Arleth of Somers Point was eager to see the original works. She retired from teaching preschool and special education classes, and remembers how much students liked reading the stories that Lewis illustrated.

“I think it’s incredible,” said Arleth. “The detail he gets in such a small space without overdoing it is amazing. I also like his palette. It’s warm with lots of green, greys and browns.”

Lois Gregory, also of Somers Point, appreciated the culture she found at the exhibit. She pointed to a watercolor of a young African boy. “I visited Africa in the 1980s, and I have a photograph of a little boy just like that. It’s like looking at my picture,” she said.

This is the third year in a row that The Links Art Show has selected the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University as their venue.

Stop by the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday for its monthly Second Friday event. This month will include new AC Artists Collective member Tony Chauhdary, the opening of a new exhibition at the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey and a book signing with local author Joseph Polillo.

Listen to live music by Mile 6 and enjoy a wine tasting provided by The Iron Room. Bring some unused clothing or fabric scraps to make a prayer flag to add to the community art installation “Flags for PeACe” by SustainCreate.

For more information, visit www.artsgarageac.com.

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