AOIF Commissions ‘The Wiz at 50’ artwork

As part of our ongoing efforts to illuminate the cultural impact and importance of timeless stories and their inspired artworks, The Arts of Imagination Foundation is excited to announce a new commission by legendary scenic artist, Tom H. John which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Broadway musical, The Wiz.

Winner of seven 1975 Tony Awards and a Grammy for Best Original Cast Recording, THE WIZ is considered a landmark accomplishment, and culturally significant for its success in presenting a traditional fairy tale through the African American experience.

Along with Geoffrey Holder’s eye popping costumes, Tom John’s colorful and innovative scenery for The Wiz was a landmark achievement that forever changed the visual landscape of Broadway production design. 

For this new commission, Tom has revisited his original scenic concept for the Munchkinland scene in a stunning large scale mural that combines watercolor, gouache, pen and ink and decoupage on a 57″ x 21” sized paper.  Filled with extraordinary character and detail, the art is a stunning accomplishment of imagination, and a singular representation of Tom’s unique personal style.

At age 92, Tom is currently the only member of the original design team of The Wiz still living.  This artwork provides the invaluable opportunity for the world to revisit and celebrate the original legacy of The Wiz from the perspective of one of its original designers, through the current perspective of today.  The art also is a unique celebration of the enduring creative possibilities for senior artists, and their continued value as members of our artistic communities.

The Arts of Imagination Foundation will use the artwork in its program, “The Journey from Home,” which was piloted at the University of North Carolina in Spring of 2023. This unique, multi-generational learning event uses Tom John’s original artwork for The Wiz in an in depth and interactive conversation about how we look at art and timeless stories through the lens of different cultural perspectives.