Panel 3: Extinction or Evolution?: Imagining the Future of Political Cartoons

The Future of American Political Cartoons: A Symposium in Honor of Pat Oliphant

Panel 3: Extinction or Evolution?: Imagining the Future of Political Cartoons

October 24, 2020

Panelists: Tom Gibson, Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), Ann Telnaes

Introduction: Beth Turner, University Professor of Art History, University of Virginia

Moderator: Molly Schwartzburg, Curator, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia

In 2018, the UVA Library acquired the archive of Pat Oliphant, a dazzling resource for future study of our most influential living cartoonist. Now retired, Oliphant is deeply concerned about the future of the genre he has influenced so profoundly. Thanks in part to a generous grant from the UVA Arts Endowment, we were able to host a three-day conversation inspired by Oliphant’s passion for the topic, featuring keynote speaker Keith Knight, special guest Pat Oliphant, and some of the country’s most influential political cartoonists engaged in in-depth discussions of the field today and tomorrow.

With print news receding, online sources proliferating (and become more partisan), and digital tools opening new aesthetic horizons, what is happening to this form of visual commentary, once the shared experience of every reader with a newspaper and a cup of coffee? In this virtual symposium, prominent artists representing different generations and regions of the country shared their insights and projections as their creative field, once a stable part of the newsprint infrastructure, experiences upheaval and a tenuous future.


Tom Gibson
Tom Gibson, founder of Advocacy Animation and New Generation Foundation, is a cartoonist, writer, and public affairs consultant. He began work in Washington as a free-lance cartoonist for the Washington Post, then was an editor and cartoonist for USA Today at the newspaper’s founding. From USA Today, he moved from frying pan to fire as Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and Director of White House Public Affairs. Subsequently, Mr. Gibson returned to cartoon art through web-based animation, while also working in public affairs and technology. He received a BA from Princeton and holds an MPA from Harvard.

Kevin Kallaugher
Kevin Kallaugher (KAL) is the international award-winning editorial cartoonist for The Economist magazine of London and The Baltimore Sun. In a distinguished career that spans 42 years, Kal has created over 10,000 cartoons and 150 magazine covers. His resumé includes six collections of his published work, exhibitions in a dozen countries, and awards and honors in seven. These awards include Feature Cartoonist of the Year (UK), The Thomas Nast Prize (Germany), Cartoon of the Year (Europe), The Berryman Award (US), Herblock Prize (US), and two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (US).

Ann Telnaes
Ann Telnaes creates editorial cartoons in various mediums—animation, visual essays, live sketches, and traditional print—for the Washington Post. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her print cartoons and the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 2017.

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