August 21, 2018

Short story: Rick and Maria will speak at the National Museum of American Illustrators this Saturday, August 25, 2018, at 1:30 pm in Newport, RI, USA.

Seating is limited and reservations are required.

Details and (longer) story below.


The National Museum of American Illustration Welcomes Founders of Zentangle

From NMAI's press release:

The National Museum of American Illustration (NMAI) in Newport, RI, is pleased to welcome artists Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts to the NMAI's 2018 Summer Lecture series on Saturday, August 25th, 2018 * 1:30PM. 

This lecture is open to the public and there is no additional charge beyond the standard cost of Museum admission. Seating is limited; to RSVP for lectures call (401) 851-8949 ext. 18 or email  [email protected]

This lecture will take place at the NMAI: 492 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI.

Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts will deliver a lecture on the art of Zentangle, a controlled form of drawing simple, repetitive patterns to create visually impressive images while improving focus and creativity. 

Thomas and Roberts will discuss what the Zentangle Method is, how it began, and the phenomenon it's become. By combining the lecture with images and demonstrations, they will relate the Zentangle story to Golden Age American illustrators and the works featured at the NMAI.

The National Museum of American Illustration is an independent, educational and aesthetic organization with the goal to present the best venue for the public to appreciate the greatest collection of illustration art. The NMAI's Summer Season begins Memorial Day Weekend, open Thursday through Sunday, 11am - 5pm, with a Guided Tour every Friday at 3pm. It is located at Vernon Court, 492 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. For information call (401) 851-8949 ext. 18 or visit

About the NMAI Building and Grounds

From the NMAI website:

Vernon Court was designed by Carrère & Hastings, architects of the New York Public Library, The Frick Collection, The Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Nemours (DuPont mansion museum in Wilmington), Neue Galerie in NYC, the United States Senate and House Office Buildings, and many other nationally recognized architectural monuments.

The adjacent Stoneacre grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1884, America's legendary first landscape architect, designer of Central Park, the White House grounds, the National Park System, many Newport estates, and enumerable other notable projects. The Frederick Law Olmsted Park and Vernon Court's grounds, designed by Wadley & Smythe, have a number of Champion Trees of the USA, including Ginkgo, Japanese Zelkova, Fernleaf Beech and Yeddo Spruce. A Memorial Arch in honor of Louis I. Kahn, the greatest American architect of the second half of the 20th century, will be constructed in the future. This unique tripartite project comprises a great step forward towards protecting and enhancing our nation's architectural and artistic heritage.

Vernon Court combines art from the "Golden Age of American Illustration" in "Gilded Age" architecture. It is truly an alliance of art and architecture, rarely achieved and unique. Other comparable institutions are the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Albert Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania, Borghese Gallery in Rome, Kenwood English Heritage and The Wallace Collection in London.

National Museum of American Illustration
National Museum of American Illustration

The Longer Story

Rick writes:

A dear friend from the UK was visiting with us some months ago. For a special outing, we took her to Newport, RI, to show her the National Museum of American Illustration.

We arrived on a beautiful spring day to find the regal gilded gates to the museum closed. There was a sign next to the gate. As we tried to read it from our car, the gate opened and a car came through from inside. Now I couldn't see the sign. Their car waited for me to move. I waited for their car to move. 

I got out of our car and walked over to read the sign. As I approached, the driver asked, "May I help you?"

I explained that we drove down with our friend from the UK just to see the museum and I was checking the sign for the hours.

"I'm sorry. The museum is closed on Saturdays," he said. Then he looked at the woman next to him. Then he looked at me. 

"Drive your car inside. We can give you 30 minutes."

Unsuccessfully suppressing a smile, I returned to our car with the news.

30 minutes turned into two hours of private tour and delightful conversation with the owners and founders of the museum, Judy and Laurence Cutler. 

In the course of conversation, we told them about Zentangle. That conversation grew into an invitation to speak at the museum's summer lecture series.

We are honored at this opportunity to speak about the Zentangle Method and artform at the National Museum of American Illustrators. This is the best and most poetic location for such a milestone event to occur, because commercial illustrators and Zentangle artists often share a rhyming arc of acceptance.

We are also thrilled to have found two new friends -- a couple who are as delightfully playful and loving towards each other as we are.

We look forward to seeing you there. And if you can't make it Saturday, the next time you are anywhere near Newport, be sure to visit this museum gem.

But do check first to make sure it's open!

Thank you!

Thank you for reading this on such short notice.

The lecture will last about an hour. It doesn't include a workshop but we do have some great stories, insights, and images that we are looking forward to sharing with you. 

We will have books available and will sign and personalize them for you after the lecture.

We plan to stay afterwards to meet with you as long as you want (or until Judy and Laurence kick us out!).

With all best regards,

Rick and Maria

© 2018 Zentangle, Inc.