Toonseum, a museum dedicated to the art of cartooning and based in Pittsburgh, PA hosted a media event, Bloggers Blast and Media Preview Night on Friday February 4, 2011. Throughout the course of the evening, Executive Director, Joe Wos, once again proved himself a forward thinker.
By acknowledging the bloggers, podcasters, tweeters and other media types and creating a specific event for such, he has recognized the non-print trend in current marketing culture. With his informational, yet genuine approach Wos reached out to those who utilize these means as a way to let people know about what the Toonseum has to offer.
“What you (as a digital media community) do is so important and can make such a difference to small organizations like ours. We continue to grow because of all the individual voices out there.” Wos also described to those in attendance at the event that the unique fan-based way they run the museum is “dependent on those that love the museum and spread the word about it.”
It is easy to see why Toonseum attracts followers when Wos reveals the upcoming events and technological applications.
Upcoming exhibits include a Charlie the Tuna exhibit in February, Brenda Starr, the first comic strip by a female in March, Overture: Behind the Scenes of Looney Tunes in September, SuperHeroes: Icons and Origins beginning in May, 40 years of Ziggy in August, and One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages in December.
In addition to the exhibits and displays, the planning at the Toonseum provides for many experiential opportunities. Fans have enjoyed an evening with Carroll Spinney and a family friendly puppet making workshop with Noel MacNeal (“Between the Lions” and “Oobi”). For it’s Valentine’s Day package, Toonseum has partnered with Church Brew Works to give couples an evening of beer tasting with a drawing workshop. It is so popular that a second date had to be added.
“We are trying to be always on an innovative and cutting edge for such a small museum,” says Wos during his greeting.
The cutting edge is exemplified in the fact that The Toonseum is the only museum in Pittsburgh to have an iPhone app. An Android app will soon be available. These allow visitors to use a bar code to access videos and other linked information about what you are viewing around the museum.
Highlights of the Media event include a visit from Doug Bradley, most notably known as Pinhead in the Hellraiser movies. His announcement that he is soon moving to Pittsburgh was well received by those in attendance. Should we be afraid?
In his best demonic voice Bradley repeats one of his famous lines, “We have such sites to show you.” For Pittsburgh residents and its visitors, Bradley, in 2012, will be curating what will surely be a spectacular site at Toonseum, Doug Bradley Presents: Things That Go Bump in the Night.
There is something special about the Toonseum. The exhibits that are presented and the events that are held are a huge part of it. There’s more to it than that. To be around Joe Wos and his staff, you can feel the passion and honesty, ambition and motivation, intelligence and creativity. Most of all you can feel the fun. It’s like fun with purpose. The dedication to the art form he loves and his willingness to reach out to media, fans, collaborators and other non-profit organizations is sure to endear him and the museum to the hearts of the people who meet and talk with him.
Joe Wos describes the function, focus and future of his museum:
If you have not yet visited Toonseum, you are missing out on what Doug Bradley states is “…a jewel in the crown of Pittsburgh.” You are also missing out on history, art and a very enjoyable experience.
In posts about the upcoming exhibits 2 free passes will be given away on 4 separate occasions(8 passes total this year), all compliments of Toonseum.
Simply Put- The Toonseum is a Blogger’s Paradise and a fan’s delight.
I had the very wonderful and unique opportunity to attend Toonseum’s fundraiser Saturday evening. The event, Ka-Blam!: The Return of Saturday Morning!, entertained with virtual, physical and music performers, puppeteer’s and a silent auction. Toonseum (located at 945 Liberty Ave), is one of only three museums in the U.S. dedicated to the cartoon arts.
Held at the Cultural District Education Center, the event had the nostalgic theme of cartoons past. Posters of our childhood favorites were hung everywhere. Gary Gnu and Mr McFeely attended too. Hungry? There was a fantastic selection of catered items or you could hit the cereal table- pick a box and grab some milk for a true Saturday morning cartoon feel.
What is absolutely awesome about the event is that Carroll Spinney was the guest of honor. You know him- as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Joe Wos, exec. director of the Toonseum, had an interview session with Mr. Spinney who brought Oscar with him to start the evening. If you grew up like me watching Sesame Street as a kid, you were in awe of being in the same room as “Mr. Big Bird”. He truly is an amazing man, inside and out. I did not know that he wanted to be a cartoonist and work for his idol, Walt Disney when he was younger. Joe Wos found out and invited him as the guest of honor for Ka-Blam. He also has Mr. Spinney’s cartoons and other artwork on display at the Toonseum. This is the first time anyone has featured Mr. Spinney’s works.
I can’t help it. I’m happy that he ended up in my living room instead of behind an animation desk.
You can see my video of Carroll Spinney’s interview at Ka-Blam! at the Pittsburgh On Video website. I am sure there be will be other videos of better quality, but I wanted to share a great evening and a great story with you. Mr. Spinney and his wife seem like two of the most thoughtful, realistic people you could ever meet. Yet you can feel the greatness, the brilliance of this man as he speaks. Having made a 40+ year career as a large, lovable, yellow bird and a green, grouchy, garbage-loving monster, he still has goals and dreams for things he wants to do in life. I love it. I love knowing that I don’t ever have to quit learning, growing, and sharing myself with others. It’s the best life lesson. Hearing Mr. Spinney’s story brought back some of my childhood attitude. That ‘I can do anything and be anything that I want to be’ spirit.
Thank you Mr. Spinney for being one of the best parts of my childhood and coming full circle as a great inspiration to me as an adult.
Simply Put- The best heroes really did teach us all we needed to know way back in kindergarten and if we return to Saturday morning, we might still have more to learn from them.