Celebrating the dog days of summer: in special story time, Pam Spremulli hopes to inspire children’s love of Chautauqua

Pam Spremulli — illustrator of Chautauqua Dog Love, written by Lorrie Happ — with Ruby, a 3-year-old golden doodle.
Sean Smith / staff photographer
Pam Spremulli — illustrator of Chautauqua Dog Love, written by Lorrie Happ — with Ruby, a 3-year-old golden doodle. (We are unsure of Ruby’s exact editorial contributions to Chautauqua Dog Love.)

Artist and illustrator Pam Spremulli said she has Chautauqua Lake to thank for her love of art.

Spremulli, who was born and raised in Lakewood, New York, is a lifelong Chautauquan and recently illustrated Chautauqua Dog Love, a children’s picture book inspired by the many different dogs of Chautauqua. She will be holding a special story time at 2:30 p.m. today on Bestor Plaza, followed by a book signing at 3 p.m. at the Chautauqua Bookstore’s Author Alcove. 

Spremulli graduated from Niagara University with a marketing degree, and began working as a graphic designer. She combined her love of painting with her job and began creating and experimenting with digital art. After some years she studied design in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and is currently a College of Art and Design faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Art. 

Her artistic style, which consists of vibrant colors, simple shapes and digital illustrations, is inspired by her background in graphic design — as well as her upbringing in Chautauqua, being exposed to nature and everything this place has to offer.

“You walk down and you hear the opera, someone practicing the flute, the symphonies playing,” said Spremulli. “Everything is all around you. … It’s an artist’s dream.”

When fellow Chautauquan Lorrie Happ approached her with the book idea, Spremulli felt there was a natural connection because of their shared love of Chautauqua. While Happ already had the idea of what she wanted the story to be like, Spremulli had full creative reins over the illustrations. 

“It’s nice to be able to work with someone and feed the ideas off one another. … We had a great connection,” Spremulli said.

With Chautauqua Dog Love, Spremulli hopes to inspire even more authors to write literature that gives children a deeper connection to Chautauqua. 

Spremulli tried to incorporate the community into her illustrations — some of the dogs featured in the book are her neighbors, some are her friends’ and some are dogs she just felt needed a bit more attention. 

“(Chautauqua Dog Love) is definitely a dog-lover book, and it’s nice to see the love of animals being embraced by Chautauqua because when I was younger, you didn’t see as many dogs,” she said. 

During today’s story time, Spremulli aims to bring smiles and cheerfulness to the kids and everyone who attends. 

“If I can make someone smile, I’ve done my job,” she said. “I want them (in the future) to look back at this book with some nostalgia, that they have been here and know these locations.”

Tags : Chautauqua BookstoreChautauqua Dog LoveCleveland Institute of ArtLorrie HappNiagara UniversityPam Spremulli

The author Sabine Obermoller