Tyrone Geter Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Office—Art Gallery, Benedict College, 1600 Harden St., Columbia, SC 29204.
Painter and illustrator; Benedict College, Columbia, SC, professor of art and curator of art gallery. Exhibitions: Has exhibited art work in the United States, Nigeria, Senegal, Japan, and China, including Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC, 2002, and ElderArt Gallery, Charlotte, NC, 2002.
First place, Moja Arts Festival, Charleston, SC; first place, Butler Institute for American Art, Youngstown, OH; Robert Duncanson Award from Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH; artist fellowship grant from Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, Boston, MA; grant from Columbus, Ohio Arts Council.
Irene Smalls-Hector, Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1991, reprinted, 2004.
Irene Smalls-Hector, Dawn's Friends, D.C. Heath (Lexington, MA), 1993.
Irene Smalls-Hector, Dawn and the Round-to-It, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.
Melissa Milich, Can't Scare Me!, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1995.
Alice Faye Duncan, Willie Jerome, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1995.
Evelyn Coleman, White Socks Only, A. Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1996.
Camille Yarbrough, The Little Tree Growing in the Shade, Putnam (New York, NY), 1996.
Dinah Johnson, Sunday Week, Holt (New York, NY), 1999.
Tyrone Geter is a painter whose works reflect upon an African American heritage. An artist who draws upon oral narrative tradition and music for inspiration, Geter has contributed to picture books that celebrate an African American child's view of the world. In picture books such as Willie Jerome, White Socks Only, and Sunday Week, Geter revels in the warmth of family and community as the books's narrators remember pleasant or pivotal moments in their younger years.
White Socks Only, by Evelyn Coleman, tells the story of an African American grandmother who recalls drinking from a "Whites Only" water fountain on a hot day many years ago. A child at the time, the grandmother did not understand the sign and thought she should drink only after taking off her shoes to expose her white socks. Her confusion leads to a potentially violent confrontation with a white man, but other members of the African American community rally to her side—and take drinks from the fountain as well. A Publishers
Weekly critic felt that Geter's illustrations for White Socks Only "conduct the story's considerable emotional charge." Carolyn Phelan in Booklist likewise felt that the pictures "sensitively illustrate the place, the time, the heat, and the child's emotions."
Alice Faye Duncan's Willie Jerome is set in the big city. Willie Jerome likes to play jazz trumpet on the rooftop of his apartment building, but his mother and the neighbors can't understand his riffs. Willie's sister comes to his defense and helps others to appreciate the young musician's budding talent. In her Booklist review of the work, Denia Hester concluded: "With this smooth mix of rhythm and cool, it's difficult not to hear Miles Davis blowin' in the background."
Both The Little Tree Growing in the Shade and Sunday Week reflect the authors' and the artist's appreciation for African American spirituality. In The Little Tree Growing in the Shade, a father explains how African people use music to reveal their innermost feelings and their connection to God. Hazel Rochman in Booklist praised Geter's "stirring" charcoal drawings for their evocation of "connections in history, memory, and music." In Sunday Week, a whole community eagerly awaits the pleasures of Sunday, including church-going, picnicking with family, and taking drives in the country. Ilene Cooper in Booklist wrote of Sunday Week: "Geter furnishes street scenes, warm family moments, and, of course, occasions of faith." A Publishers Weekly critic concluded that Geter's illustrations for Sunday Week "strike a universal chord of familial love and the strength of community."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, June 1, 1995, Denia Hester, review of Willie Jerome, p. 1784; February 15, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of White Socks Only, p. 1025; April 1, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of The Little Tree Growing in the Shade, p. 1367; February 15, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of Sunday Week, p. 1075.
Horn Book, March, 1999, Susan P. Bloom, review of Sunday Week, p. 191.
Publishers Weekly, April 12, 1991, Diane Roback and Richard Donahue, review of Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel, p. 57; December 19, 1994, review of Can't Scare Me!, p. 54; April 17, 1995, review of Willie Jerome, p. 59; February 19, 1996, review of White Socks Only, p. 215; February 22, 1999, review of Sunday Week, p. 94.*