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Norman Rockwell Museum teams up with leading cartoon artists to offer some much needed comedic relief

Liza Donnelly, Freedom to Make You Shut Up, 2010 for United Nations Cartooning for Peace Liza Donnelly

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is hoping to offer folks a socially distanced virtual chuckle during this otherwise downer of a year with its virtual series Finding Funny in Complicated Times, where today’s foremost cartoonists, illustrators and editors will discuss the power of cartoons to “to provide a little stress relief at a time when it’s needed most, and to open up conversations in ways that words alone cannot”, says Stephanie Plunkett, the chief curator of the museum.

The series coincides with an exhibition devoted to the prolific New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly (on view until 27 September). The artist “offers perspective and humour that awakens the soul, stirs the heart and invites reflection and new ways of seeing”, Plunkett says. “She has an unique approach that gently reflects on themes of love and relationships, feminism, politics, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matters movement.”

The light-hearted virtual event kicks off on 4 August (until 1 September) with a conversation between Donnelly and her husband, the New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin, on their careers and how their marriage has influenced their decades-long creative work for the magazine, while future events will delve into topics like the political power of cartoons. The museum promises that each talk will contain some jokes, since “everyone needs a laugh right now,” Plunkett says.