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By Alice Estrada, Festival Executive Director

“What does the Festival staff DO all year?”  It’s a commonly-asked question, outside of the hectic spring and summer Festival season.  Programming a lineup of about 100 quality events encompassing numerous art forms requires lots of behind-the-scenes work, year-round. 
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River City Brass performs for a full Festival crowd, June 2009. Did you enjoy this free concert or others at the Festival Main Stage? What would you like to see in 2010?

 

Everyone connected with the Festival has been brainstorming on programming for the last few months, really since the moment the 2009 Festival wrapped.  Our artistic directors are sketching out their schedules as we speak.  But before we put the final line-up together we want you to weigh in on what you want to see, hear, taste and experience. 

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We host more than 100 events during the 10-day Festival.  What would you like to see more of, less of…?  Don’t hold back!

Feel free to comment on any or all of the artistic genres including visual arts, culinary arts, theater, dance, music (brass, classical, popular and jazz). 

Simply click on the blue text above where it says “leave a comment.”  We are excited to hear from you… and look forward to your comments!

By Christianna Giordano, Gettysburg Festival Intern, Class of 2010 

                                 Hunt Slonem                                                                                                                                                               Hunt Slonem is a fascinating Manhattan-based artist known mainly for his exotic and impressionist paintings of birds and other wildlife.  But Slonem’s subjects took a different turn recently, as he began a new series featuring our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Slonem originally began painting First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, who he considered a fashionable beauty for her time, but changed his focus after receiving a message from President Lincoln himself. Slonem, who relies on his regular consultations with his psychic, says that Abraham Lincoln spoke to him directly. Not only did President Lincoln tell Slonem to begin painting his portrait but he also explained that he must begin painting doves and olive branches, a series which Slonem has named “Abraham’s Peace Plan.”

 Hunt Slonem, painting of a rabbit

Slonem’s paintings and sculptures are known throughout the world, but he’s also famous for his notorious New York City loft, featuring over a hundred rooms dedicated to his art, his birds and his eccentric lifestyle. One room features dozens of paintings of rabbits (which he began after discovering on a Chinese food menu that he was born in the year of the rabbit).

For a sneak peek into Slonem’s loft and its unconventional rooms, check out this video from CBS This Morning.

Claude Monet's Irises

Hunt Slonem is certainly a unique artist and Bruce Helander of the Art of the times describes him as “… a rare adorable bird in his own eccentric right, (who) portrays his great love for winged specimens and nature with a charming mix of abstract expressionism, color field attitudes and classic sculpted garden redolent of Claude Monet.”                          

The GettyBlue Lincoln by Hunt Slonemsburg Festival recently accepted a donation of “Blue Lincoln,” which was part of a Lincoln portrait series exhibited in the June 2009 Festival. “Blue Lincoln” is one of the larger paintings of the series, measuring 4 ½ feet tall and 3 feet wide, valued at $24,000. The Gettysburg Festival plans to donate this magnificent painting to the Borough of Gettysburg in early December. 

Slonem explains the focus on blue and black colors throughout the series, and especially seen in the “Blue Lincoln”, as, “I really can’t say why I paint them this way, except that there was no color photography back then, so I’m thinking of the Daguerreo-types”.

For the month of November, you can stop by the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station where “Blue Lincoln” will be part of an exhibit on slavery and abolition, coinciding with Dedication Day festivities in Gettysburg.  Admission is free and hours are from 10 to 4 daily.

 For many who have seen Slonem’s Lincoln portraits, mixed feelings most certainly arise. The melancholy colors of blue and black give the first impression that the painting foBlue Lincoln by Hunt Slonem - hand detailcuses on the tragedy of his early death and the sadness surrounding his memory, but further inspection can lead to other conclusions. Personally, when I see the cross hatching and strong lines of Slonem’s “Blue Lincoln,” as seen in the close-up on the left, it presents President Lincoln in a strong and proud manner, as history proves were two of his enduring traits. What is it about President Lincoln that inspires artists to continue painting him today? Was it his tragic death? Was it is stance against slavery?

We hope you are able to stop by the Gettysburg Railroad Station this November to view this massive painting and reflect upon Abraham Lincoln.  Then, feel free to post your comments and reactions on Slonem’s work and the enduring legacy of President Lincoln.