Every map represents both truth and imagination. No matter how carefully a medieval ship’s captain described a shoreline or how sophisticated a modern engineer’s tools, there is always space left for interpretation: “Here there be dragons”; “Somewhere beyond this line lies the kingdom of Prester John.” These are the mapmakers’ truths, but no one can reach such a place without a leap of faith.
Landscapes are in constant flux: A hill erodes in a storm; a shift in currents creates a new beach. Every step across charted land changes what that place is. Globes for heaven and earth acknowledge that neither is completely spherical, and archives are stocked with maps of a flat earth—even a hollow earth in which continents fall in toward the center and come back again on the other side.
Thus every map must be accompanied by another chart, a legend to decipher its symbols. A compass star in one corner indicates north, east, south, west, with a line showing how many miles are represented by a single inch. Drawings of mythical beasts warn travelers away; the fine print notes “This is not to scale.” And with such an explanation comes another type of legend, a story, a human narrative explaining how this map, this very world, came to be.
In June 2016, we invite you to explore the world(s) of legendmakers such as Bradley Dicharry, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, TyRuben Ellingson, Deborah Jiang-Stein, Ron Smith, Julie Anderson, Kat Meads, Henry Walters, Lee Strasburger, and more.