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Neighbors of Kane County

Award-Winning Artist and Illustrator Wendell Minor Visits Aurora to Receive Honors

May 24, 2019 04:53PM ● By Hannah Ott

Aurora - Join the City of Aurora in honoring one of its living treasures, internationally-acclaimed artist and illustrator Wendell Minor. Minor grew up in a home on West New York Street., then called Walnut Street, and soon to be named “Wendell Minor Way.” 

On Tuesday, May 28, Wendell Minor will be honored at the meeting of the City Council, followed by light refreshments. City Council meets at 6pm in Council Chambers, on the second floor of City Hall, at 44 E Downer Place. 

On Wednesday, May 29, Minor will be honored with the renaming of the street where he grew up, on West New York. Between Greenman Elementary and West Aurora High School. The ceremony will begin at 10am, at the intersection of W New York St. and Commonwealth Ave.

After making a visit to talk with third, fourth and fifth graders at a local public school, Minor will give a public talk at 6pm at the Santori Library in downtown Aurora, at 101 S. River St. 

Minor's painted portrait of Harry Truman is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

He will share thoughts on his upbringing in Aurora, his love of nature and his artwork. After the talk, refreshments will be provided and visitors will have a chance to meet the artist. The library’s collection of books by Wendell Minor will be on display at the talk and available for check-out. 

All of these events are free, open to the public and sponsored by the City of Aurora. The Artist Talk at the Santori Library is co-sponsored by the Aurora Public Library. 

About Wendell Minor: Minor was a charter inductee into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame as well as the West Aurora Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor. Born and raised in Aurora, Minor attended Greenman Elementary School and West Aurora High School, graduating in 1962. 

Minor headed to New York City in 1968 but to this day, he keeps in touch with friends from his childhood. All these years later, Minor is still influenced by his upbringing in Aurora and the surrounding farmlands. His Midwestern roots are plain to see in the humble elegance, and rootedness, felt in his paintings. 

Minor’s career as an illustrator spans fifty years; he has created cover illustrations for more than 2,200 books and worked with writers the likes of Toni Morrison, Mary Higgins Clark, Pat Conroy, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and his wife and business partner, writer Florence Minor. The portrait of Harry Truman that Minor painted for the cover of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning David McCullough’s Truman is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. 

Most recently, Minor was named the Artist Laureate for 2018/2019 by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts. Minor has won over fifty awards for his books, including the Cook Prize for best science, technology, engineering and math picture book for children eight to ten, the John Burroughs List of Nature Books For Young Readers, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, Notable Children’s Trade Books in Social Studies, ALA Booklist Children’s Choices, International Reading Association Teacher’s Choices and the Parents Choice Foundation “Silver Honor.”

Schedule of Events: May 28 – 29

  • Honored at City Council, followed by reception: Tuesday, May 28, 6pm (Council Chambers, Aurora City Hall, 44 E Downer Place)
  • Street Naming Ceremony: Wednesday, May 29, 10am (W New York St., Exact Location TBD)
  • Artist Talk, followed by reception: Wednesday, May 29, 6-7:30pm (Santori Library, Room 125/126, 101 S River St., Aurora)

For more information, contact Jennifer Evans, Public Art Director, at

Source: Director Jennifer Evans