Daughter of Mississippi artists to sign books at local bookstore

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007

JACKSON — The Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson is proud to announce that their publication, The Four Dog Blues Band, a new children’s book, has recently been awarded The Award of Distinction from The 13th Annual Communicator Awards, which is an international awards competition that recognizes outstanding work in the communication field.

The book was designed by Heidi Flynn Allen, written by Lianne K. Takemori of the Mississippi Museum of Art, illustrated by 11-year-old artist Maggie Dunlap, daughter of Mississippi artists Linda Burgess and William Dunlap, and edited by Robin C. Dietrick, also of the Mississippi Museum of Art and Bradley S. Klein.

The book, which was released this past April, was produced to coincide with the opening of the museum’s new facility in order to help children understand the importance of this momentous occasion for Mississippi and its artistic heritage.

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The storyline follows a blues hound named Chester on a wild adventure as he and a group of dogs make their way to the big city — Jackson — so that their musical group can perform at the brand new Museum facility.

The dogs travel the state by way of its various regional artists, featuring paintings from the Museum’s permanent collection. Each of the paintings featured in the book is presented in the exhibition, The Mississippi Story, an exhibition of more than 215 works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection, telling the history of Mississippi through art.

The book marks Maggie Dunlap’s first foray into illustrating, although she has been surrounded by the art world since birth. The only child of two artists, Maggie quickly became accustomed to looking at, living with and making art. From the time she could hold a crayon in hand she drew incessantly. Maggie is currently excited about musical theatre. She studies voice and performs with an acting troupe in Coconut Grove, Florida. In addition to drawing, Maggie swims, reads, plays tennis and enjoys fashion design. Maggie Dunlap is in the sixth grade this fall.

The main character, Chester, was pulled from a William Dunlap painting in the Museum’s permanent collection entitled Flat Out Dog Trot. The work is a well-known piece from the collection and the dog figure has moved beyond the painting to become almost a mascot for MMA, present in marketing materials and merchandise.

Maggie Dunlap will be reading and signing copies of the book at Cover to Cover Books in Natchez from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 11.

; and on October 12 at Lorelei Books in Vicksburg at 1:00 p.m.