The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum here in Columbus has announced a donation of an extraordinary collection of more than 250 pieces of original artwork by contemporary American cartoonists from Annie Koyama, owner and publisher of Koyama Press.
In 2007, Koyama founded the Canada-based publishing company to encourage and support a variety of artists and illustrators. Koyama Press publishes alternative comics and art books, by both emerging and established artists.
Koyama is known in the comics community for her unwavering generosity, enthusiasm and professionalism. In 2013, she began assembling a curated collection for the BICLM that would bear her name and represent a snapshot of the independent comics industry that has begun to reach a critical mass in the early 21st Century. Koyama explains about her donation, “I started purchasing work from some of my favourite American cartoonist as a way to support and offer patronage to predominately up-and-coming artists. Over time, I built a collection of art that is as unique and diverse as the cartooning community from which it is derived. I am excited to see these artists finding recognition and representation in what I consider a vital resource: the BICLM.” Artists represented in the collection include Lisa Hanawalt, Theo Ellsworth, Katie Skelly, Noah Van Sciver, Eleanor Davis, Dustin Harbin, Frank Santoro, Gabrielle Bell, Hellen Jo, Kevin Huizenga, and nearly one hundred others.
“What Annie Koyama has done for us is unprecedented, forward-thinking, and remarkable. Most cartoonists in this community make a livelihood by selling their original art to private collectors, which makes it more difficult for public research facilities like BICLM to obtain these essential works. Annie has not only supported these cartoonists, but has solidified their legacy by placing the collection at OSU where it can be preserved, accessed, and enjoyed for generations to come” states Associate Curator Caitlin McGurk.
“We are immensely moved by Annie Koyama’s thoughtfulness and vision, and grateful for this gift which is unique in our 40-year history of collecting,” comments curator Jenny Robb, “Annie has demonstrated the potential for the community to play a role in preserving its own history.”
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum has also confirmed an exhibition of the Koyama Collection to be on display May 6, 2018 – Sunday, October 21, 2018, coinciding with Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC).