WILSON, N.C. — The newly established Friends of Visual Arts organization at Barton College welcomes illustrator and cartoonist Marcus Hamilton for an exhibition of his work. A reception in honor of Hamilton will be held on Sunday, March 4, from 3-5 p.m. in the Barton Museum. This event is open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

This program follows on the heels of the successful inaugural event for the Friends of Visual Arts featuring the work of Mark Hewitt held earlier this week.

Back by popular demand for this late winter show, Hamilton is making a second visit to Wilson and Barton College this semester. He received a standing ovation following remarks he made to a crowd of 400 at the recent The National Scholastic Art Awards ceremony for the Eastern /Central North Carolina Region held in January on the Barton campus. You could hear a pin drop as Hamilton shared his stirring message with middle school and high school students from across the piedmont and eastern regions of North Carolina who were joined by their families and teachers for this prestigious event.

Now, Hamilton returns to share his story and his work with the Wilson and Barton campus communities. His story begins with an early love for drawing that evolved into a career as a freelance illustrator for a number of national publications including “The Saturday Evening Post,” “Golf Digest,” “U.S. News & World Report,” and “Changing Times” magazines, among others. Becoming disenchanted with commercial art when the evolution of computer graphic arts began to replace the painstaking hand-drawn work, he realized some significant changes in his life. Through a series of serendipitous events, Hamilton discovered that Hank Ketcham, creator of the “Dennis the Menace” comic strip, was interested in retiring, and he contacted this patriarch of the comic panel. Impressed with the work Hamilton sent to him, Ketcham decided to offer him the opportunity to learn the intricacies of drawing his beloved “Dennis.” And, after an extended apprenticeship, Ketcham handed over the daily “Dennis” comic strip to Hamilton in October 1995.

Hamilton’s career has had its highs and lows over the years, but he says that preparedness and perseverance have carried him through the difficult periods. In 2005, Hamilton was presented the prestigious Reuben Award, often referred to as the “Oscar” of the cartooning world.

Hamilton’s work will be on view through March 19. To read more about Marcus Hamilton and his work, visit the official web site for Hank Ketcham’s “Dennis the Mennis.”

The Barton Museum is located in the Case Art Building at the intersection of Whitehead Avenue and Gold Street. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday – Friday.

For additional information about this exhibition, please contact Susan Fecho, director of the Barton Museum and chair of the Art Department, at 252-399-6480 or email: sfecho@barton.edu.