New Sordoni exhibit opens with the collections of Andrew Sordoni


The Beacon/Toni Pennello

The Sordoni Art Gallery’s newest exhibit features items from Andrew J. Sordoni III’s colection of illustrations and comics, including this 1917 illustration by N.C. Wyeth titled “I am Sir Lancelot du Lake, King Ban’s son of Benwick, and knight of the Round Table.”

On Saturday, April 7, the Sordoni Art Gallery opened its new exhibition, titled “Selections from the Sordoni Collection: American Illustration & Comic Art” for the Wilkes community.

This exhibition features the collection of Andrew J. Sordoni III, the son of Barney Sordoni, who brought the Sordoni Art Gallery to Wilkes University in 1973, which includes more than 135 different illustrations and comics by more than 100 different artists.

Sordoni has been collecting for more than 50 years with pieces dating back from the 1890s to today. The pieces range from advertisements to cartoons from Playboy, MAD, and other well-known magazines.

With the help of Heather Sincavage and curator Dr. Stanley Grand, Sordoni’s passion for illustration can be enjoyed by Wilkes community members until May 20.

“Mr. Sordoni and Dr. Grand are really trying to show you the dignity and the skill in a lot of these works that are basically made, photographed, and tossed to the side,” said Sincavage, Sordoni Art Gallery Director and assistant professor at Wilkes University.

“It’s a special day for the Sordoni Gallery,” she said. “It’s a really wonderful way to commemorate his dedication to the arts and Wilkes University.”

University President Patrick Leahy gave a few remarks about the gallery’s impact on Wilkes University and the students.

“In my opinion, you cannot be a true university without an enduring commitment to the arts, and this is just the latest manifestation of that,” he said.

One of the featured artists, Chris Payne, also spoke at the opening of the exhibit. Payne spoke on his inspirations growing up and how he came to be an artist.

Payne is an artist illustrator who has been featured on Time Magazine and MAD Magazine. Payne is also the founder of the Illustrators Partnership of America.

“Illustration means so much to me,” he said.

“I wasn’t exposed to it and that to me is what is really important about this show,” Payne continued. “It’s exposing the history of cartooning, the history of illustration, to the students who have dreams and want to be able to make a living [from art].”

After the remarks from all of the speakers,  Sordoni welcomed the crowd to his collection as the curtain revealed a room full, from wall to wall, of comics and illustrations.

“It’s just unbelievably fabulous,” commented Rosa Thompson, of Drums, of Sordoni’s collection.

“It is incredible what he has put together,” she continued. “The community is very lucky to have him.”

Freshman marketing and digital design and media art double major and student worker for the gallery, Jess Morandi, expressed her opinion on the new exhibition.

“There are a lot more pieces here than there were in the other two,” Morandi said. “The [Warhol and Fraleigh] exhibits were kind of similar art, this is a lot of different stuff put together with a lot of different themes.”

“I like how grandiose it is,” she continued.

Jennifer Olshevski, a Wilkes-Barre native, joined the opening from Philadelphia.

“I think it feels nostalgic, it kind of elicits that emotional response of remembering something from childhood,” Olshevski said. “I am seeing a lot of comics that my parents would read together.”

The gallery will hold three lectures on April 11, April 25 and May 2, all at 4:30 p.m.

For ongoing news and information about the Sordoni Art Gallery, follow the gallery on Twitter and Instagram @SordoniGallery.