It has been almost one year since millions of people of all ages from around the world first joined Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence, Emmy Award®–winning writer, and New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Mo Willems in his studio for weekday LUNCH DOODLES. To mark this significant moment, Mo and the Kennedy Center are releasing a special new “Episode 00” of LUNCH DOODLES, inviting everyone back into his studio to doodle, reflect on the past year, and create art together. “Episode 00” will be available at the Mo Willems page of the Kennedy Center website beginning on Monday, March 15 at 1 p.m. EST.
“I was compelled to mark the anniversary of LUNCH DOODLES as a reaction to COVID-19. While a year is a long time for, say, a 53-year old cartoonist like me, a year is 25 percent of a four-year old’s life,” said Willems. “My hope is to mark the solemn milestone with honesty, creativity, and art-making that might offer both fun and solace.”
Highlights of Willems’s two-year residency have included the Helen Hayes Award-winning Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!) and Mo Willems & the Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, a comedic celebration of reading that is now available to stream on HBO Max. Willems also participated in the multidisciplinary 16-day Opening Festival of the REACH, the first expansion of the Kennedy Center in its history.
On March 12, 2020, the Kennedy Center canceled all previously scheduled performances to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Four days later, the first episode of LUNCH DOODLES launched, sparking creativity for everyone adjusting to learning and living in new circumstances. Throughout the year, the creativity continued with Thank You Thursdays! projects to thank frontline workers, teachers, scientists, and helpers; a special The Yo-Yo Mo Show evening doodling collaboration with acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma; The SMALL WORKS Project to celebrate people affecting change in small ways; and DEMOCRACY DOODLE 2020 in collaboration with members of the National Symphony Orchestra.