The Comic Tree

After School Program Celebrates Cartooning with Museum Exhibit and Workshop


Greenwich, CT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/23/2019 --The Family First in Education after school program toured the "Masterpieces from the Museum of Cartoon Art" and participated in animation workshops at the Bruce Museum on Saturday, April 6. Family First's Visit to Cartooning at the Bruce was presented to over 30 participants and co-sponsored by The Bruce Museum, Family First in Education, The Comic Tree, and The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) Connecticut. To commemorate the event Brian Walker, a former director of the Museum of Cartoon Art and guest curator of the exhibit, spoke about the importance of showcasing comic artwork. Walker stated, "Cartoons are communication. If you draw a cartoon, show it to your family, have it published in a newspaper or make it into a greeting card. The most important thing is to share it. That's what cartooning is all about." After Walker's opening remarks, Diana Rafferty of The Bruce toured each group through an exhibit of more than 100 original works that celebrate the history of comics and animation.

The Family First students also participated in two cartooning workshops by The Comic Tree: one in English, and another with Spanish translation by Paula Picco. Cartoonist and educator Phil Lohmeyer led The Comic Tree workshops covering facial expressions and cutout animation. The visit, said Lohmeyer, is "a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us to view so many comic masterpieces. It's amazing to be able to study these originals, learn from them, then create cartoons here at The Bruce." Both Lohmeyer and Walker hail from Greenwich, an area known for this unique art form. "There were always a lot of cartoonists around Fairfield County," says Walker. "Probably over 100 cartoonists lived around here." The 30 young cartoonists visiting on April 6th created dozens of lime and lemon-based characters during The Comic Tree Workshop. Says Lohmeyer, "Fruits are easy to animate because they don't have arms or legs. Students can learn an expression, sketch a few moods on the lemon shapes, then swap them while taking photos. It's fun to watch expressions change as an animation!" Students were able to take home their creations in tote bags provided by NCS Connecticut, along with crayons, cartooning books, and t-shirts.

Family First's Visit to Cartooning at the Bruce was made possible by several event volunteers, including cartoonists Neal Walker and Brian Walker of Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois, Carolina Ahumada, Michele Czarnecki, and Paula Picco of Family First in Education, Rick Stromoski of NCS Connecticut, Phil Lohmeyer of The Comic Tree, and Diana Rafferty, Scott Smith, Kathleen Holko and Corinne Flax of The Bruce Museum. Flax, Manager of School and Community Partnerships at the Bruce, said, "Many thanks to everyone who came together to make such a special day happen- it truly takes a village! I hope that this will be the beginning of many visits to come and other collaborations between Family First and the Bruce Museum." Made possible by a grant from the Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, Family First in Education is a collaborative between Family Centers and the YMCA of Greenwich. Focusing on structured after-school programming and parent involvement, the program aims to address the key contributors of the achievement gap. For more information regarding how you can support Family First's mission to provide art education, email art instructor and event coordinator Phil Lohmeyer at

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About The Comic Tree
The Comic Tree Workshop covers basic drawing and storytelling concepts and explores various approaches to comic art. Original workshop curriculum was developed by cartoonist Phil Lohmeyer, a professional comic strip instructor since 2003. The Comic Tree can help individual students, small groups, or teams of up to 15 people accomplish their drawing and storytelling goals. Creator Phil Lohmeyer is an educator from Greenwich, CT who has sold comic art to collectors, schools, sports teams, non-profit organizations, other authors, and international comic strip syndicates.


Photo 1 - Students, parents, and teachers from Family First in Education visit the "Masterpieces from the Museum of Cartoon Art" exhibit at Bruce Museum, with supplies provided by National Cartoonists Society Connecticut Chapter and workshops by The Comic Tree.

Photo 2- Cartooning instructor Phil Lohmeyer leads The Comic Tree Workshop at the Bruce Museum on April 6th, in which students learned the basics of facial expressions and cutout animations. The workshop followed a tour of the "Masterpieces from the Museum of Cartoon Art" exhibit, led by Diana Rafferty.

Photo 3- (From left) Cartoonists and Greenwich natives Phil Lohmeyer, Brian Walker, and Neal Walker, in front of a Beetle Bailey comic at Bruce Museum's "Masterpieces from the Museum of Cartoon Art" exhibit. The Walkers continue to produce new Beetle Bailey strips with their brother Greg, while Lohmeyer worked on the strip in the mid-2000s as an inker for Neal's pencil sketches.