‘Ducklings’ sculptor recognized for her contribution to children’s lit

Nancy Schön – the sculptor who brought the family of aquatic birds from Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” to life in the Public Garden – will be honored for her contribution to children’s literature later this month when she receives the Bridge Award from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art at a benefit gala in New York City.

“The Carle Honors Bridge Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields,” said Alexandra Kennedy, executive director of the Amherst-based Carle Museum. “What [Schön] and her wonderful sculptures have done by bringing characters to life, speaks volumes about her commitment to fostering an excitement in reading through art.”

Schön, a West Newton resident and graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, installed the sculpture based on McCloskey’s classic children’s story in the Public Garden in 1987. Four years later, First Lady Barbara Bush presented an identical set of Schön’s ducklings to Raisa Gorbachev as part of the START Treaty at Novodevichy Park in Moscow.

Schön has also created around a dozen other pieces of public art in the U.S. and Israel, including the “Tortoise and the Hare” in Copley Square – a 1993 work that she said was inspired by the Boston Marathon – and statues of A.A. Milne’s celebrated characters Winnie-the-Pooh and Eeyore at the Newton Free Library.

As she looks forward to the upcoming honor, Schön said, “I’m thrilled to pieces. It’s wonderful because one of the things I’ve tried to do in my work is to bring children’s literature to life in a 3-D way.”

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