Nancy Drew Inspired Art Show To Open At Howland Public Library For Women's History Month

Nancy Drew Inspired art: At left, Anna West’s “Good Girl”; Top Right, Jean Noack’s “The Secret”; below Right, “Nancy Drew” by Philomena Kiernan  Photo Credit: Anna West (left) and Philomena Kiernan (right).

Nancy Drew Inspired art: At left, Anna West’s “Good Girl”; Top Right, Jean Noack’s “The Secret”; below Right, “Nancy Drew” by Philomena Kiernan
Photo Credit: Anna West (left) and Philomena Kiernan (right).

Imagine our delight when A Little Beacon Blog’s Second Saturday Guide editor Catherine Sweet and I received the press release that a group art show opening at the Howland Public Library will showcase works inspired by Nancy Drew in recognition of Women’s History Month.

The Howland Public Library presents “The Mystery of Nancy Drew, a Group Show.” The exhibit will be on view in The Community Room Exhibit Space from Second Saturday, March 9, through Saturday, April 6, 2019. An artists' reception will be held on Saturday, March 9, from 5 to 7 pm.

Nancy Drew Inspired Jean Noack’s “The Secret”  Photo Credit: Jean Noack

Nancy Drew Inspired Jean Noack’s “The Secret”
Photo Credit: Jean Noack

Nancy Drew As The Inspiration

The first Nancy Drew books were published in 1930 under the pen name Carolyn Keene, and are still in print today (with several different authors publishing under that pen name). The first 23 of the original 30 books were written by Mildred Wirt Benson, who shaped Nancy’s brave and adventurous character.

Mildred was a ghost writer for the series and was not revealed as its author until the 1970s, according to this article at Smithsonian.com. Mildred was the daughter of a doctor who made house calls, and often traveled with him on his work. Keen on being a writer, Mildred was a journalist whose beat was local crimes and city corruption. She hung out at the city courthouse to find most of her stories. To learn a lot more about Mildred, read this article at Smithsonian.com.

Jan Dolan’s entry in the show imagines a “girl sleuth” dream team of Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, and Nancy Drew.  Photo Credit: Jan Dolan

Jan Dolan’s entry in the show imagines a “girl sleuth” dream team of Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, and Nancy Drew.
Photo Credit: Jan Dolan

Over time, the fictional character of Nancy Drew, the independent girl sleuth, has become a culture icon. The exhibit features artwork by over 20 local women artists inspired by the classic Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.

The exhibit at the library was curated by Jan Dolan and Michelle Rivas of the Howland Public Library. “This show is dedicated to all the real-life independent and creative problem-solving women in our community,” said the curators in their press release.

CoMFY At It Again

The show is the fifth annual exhibit from the group CoMFY, a collective of women artists from the Beacon area. Last year their show was inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The group formed in 2011 when local artists Kat Stoutenborough and Jennifer Blakeslee invited some friends to a local coffee shop to talk. Inspired by their discussions about balancing life and their creative pursuits, the women began meeting on a regular basis. The group has grown and transformed over the years. “While the women do not meet in person as often as they'd like to,” the library’s press release states, “the support network created has endured.”

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Find The Show

The Howland Public Library is located at 313 Main St., Beacon, NY 12508. The Community Room Exhibit Space is open during regular library hours. Please note the gallery may not be accessible during some library programs. Please consult the library calendar at beaconlibrary.org.

Find The Books In Beacon

You can order almost any Nancy Drew book you want from Beacon’s local bookstore Binnacle Books, or stop into the library’s volunteer-powered bookstore, Beacon Reads, to see if they have any. And of course, check the Howland Public Library to borrow a few.

Photo Credit: “Nancy Drew,” by Philomena Kiernan

Photo Credit: “Nancy Drew,” by Philomena Kiernan