“I always love to say Abilene is full of characters, and there is no better place than the Storybook Capital of America to have them all bring this community to life,” says Megan Allred.
Allred is a member of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, a storybook anchor, and serves on the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council Board of Directors.
Her family has deep roots in the Abilene community, and she is proud to make Abilene her home as well.
“I am grateful to be another generation who has chosen to make their life here as an adult,” she said. “This community is filled with many who are willing to put in the work and energy and means to make big things happen: it’s been happening since our founding and continues today.”
As a young professional, Megan says it’s important for her to give back to the community.
“Sometimes that means my time, sometimes that means opening up my checkbook, sometimes that means just showing up,” she said. “There are so many worthwhile causes in Abilene and the greater Big Country to be involved in.”
One of the ways to empower local non-profits to live out their mission and vision is through memberships, and Allred has chosen a NCCIL membership, among others, as a way to support her community.
Each year, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature sees more than 20,000 visitors from all over the world. Guests from 20 plus countries and 42 states have visited in the last year, bringing to Abilene many different people from many walks of life.
Offering admission at no charge year-round allows the NCCIL to reach more people, children and families without the barrier of cost.
“Every child and family has access to fine art experiences at no charge,” Allred said. “I think that is so incredibly beautiful.”
Last year almost 4,000 local students had the opportunity to tour the gallery and participate in fine art activities in the art studio through the NCCIL’s free school tour program. To date, the NCCIL has organized close to 60 art exhibitions and reached almost a quarter of a million people in Abilene and nationwide with free programming.
“I know my membership to the NCCIL helps make all of that possible,” Allred said. “More than that, I know it means delivering books to local schools, putting art supplies in the hands of eager young artists, and giving children of all ages, of every race, creed, and gender an outlet the ability to create, to dream big, and express themselves in ways only art allows.”