ROCKLAND — The documentary film “I Know a Man… Ashley Bryan” by Sedgwick filmmaker Richard Kane and Brooksville political artist Robert Shetterly will be presented at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Sunday, July 17, at 2 p.m. This screening follows the Farnsworth Art Museum’s community open house honoring Ashley Bryan.

“Jojo,” a puppet by Ashley Bryan.

A distinguished artist, author, storyteller and teacher, Bryan’s artistic work includes paintings, linocuts, illustrations, puppets and stained glass. Widely honored within the field of children’s literature, Bryan is renowned as the author and illustrator of more than 50 books for young readers, and is particularly noted for his work in bringing the oral tradition of African folk tales and African American spirituals to new audiences through his vibrantly illustrated books meant to be read and shared aloud. A gifted narrator, his lively call-and-response performances have captivated audiences worldwide.

Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, Bryan’s talent was nurtured by artist Romare Bearden. Bryan was drafted out of college at Cooper Union in New York City into the segregated U.S. Army at age 19. He served in an all-Black battalion during World War II and preserved his humanity by drawing, stowing supplies in his gas mask. For the past 53 years he has lived on Maine’s remote Cranberry Islands, and has used art to celebrate joy, mediate the darkness of  war and racism, explore the mysteries of faith, and create loving community.

“The Temptation,” a stained glass piece by Ashley Bryan.

In the film Bryan quotes Marian Anderson admonishing “to keep another down you have to hold them down, and therefore cannot … soar to the potential within you.” His life story and the art he makes from this wellspring of experience is an inspiration to people of all ages. Bryan urges us to seek unity over division, peace over war, and love over intolerance and bigotry.

Bryan is the winner of the New York Public Library’s Literary Lion, several Coretta Scott King awards, and the Newbery Honor for one of his latest books, “Freedom Over Me.” He died Feb. 4, 2022 at the age of 98.

Tickets for the screening are $8 or $7 for Strand Theatre members. For tickets and information, visit or call 207-594-0070.

“Were You There,” a linocut by Ashley Bryan.

Ashley Bryan on Great Cranberry Island.