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The Gettysburg Festival is proud to announce the winner of the “Then Sings My Soul: Songs & Spirituals from the American Experience”  giveaway.

  • wolfcandy888: “Can’t wait to get there !!! <3″

Congratulations! Look for an email from the Gettysburg Festival with details of how to claim your prize.

As the fifth annual Festival comes to a close this weekend, we thank all of our guests and visitors, performers and artists, donors and volunteers, board members and staff for their unflagging support. We couldn’t have such a wonderful Festival without you!

By Karen Hendricks, Gettysburg Festival PR/Marketing Director

How many of you are making “bucket lists” these days?  It seems like a popular topic for discussion, and it’s always fascinating to hear what sorts of activities and travel ideas pop up on these “lists of a lifetime.”

One of the trends I’ve noticed is that people often tend to list those iconic travel destinations such as the Statue of Liberty.  In New York City recently, our family felt compelled to visit Ground Zero.  The millions of tourists flocking to Gettysburg every year are drawn by the site of the Civil War’s most pivotal battle.  Plenty of western U.S. destinations are making bucket lists:  the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Mount Rushmore.

"The Presidents of Mount Rushmore"

Here at Gettysburg Festival, we’re gearing up for an amazing theater presentation at the June Festival titled “The Presidents of Mount Rushmore.”  We are thrilled to welcome perhaps the top four presidential portrayers in the entire country, bringing memorialized Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt to life.  These four extremely talented and knowledgeable men will send shivers down spines as they are “reincarnated” on the stage of the Majestic Theater to talk about their roles in U.S. history, their views on the Constitution and much more.  The audience will even have the chance to ask questions of these iconic American presidents.  For more on this June 17 event, including ticketing links, click here.

The creation of Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a colorful tale.  Standing 5,725 feet high, Mount Rushmore was named in 1885 for New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore.  Historican Doane Robinson of South Dakota is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills in order to attract tourism. It was sculptor Gutzon Borglum who chose the four presidents as subjects because he said they represented the first 150 years of American history.  His plan was to immortalize their likenesses as close to heaven as possible, holding them up as fine examples of leaders.

“The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.”  -Sculptor Gutzon Borglum 

Jim Foote as Theodore Roosevelt

The actual work began on October 4, 1927.  It was fourteen years later, and after many funding challenges, that the monument was completed in 1941.  It took a combined workforce of 400  men to complete the task. Today nearly three million visitors visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial annually.

According to the National Park Service’s website:

  • Washington, being our first president, represents the BIRTH of our country.
  • Jefferson symbolizes the EXPANSION of the nation, being credited with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
  • Lincoln embodies the PRESERVATION of the nation in confronting the challenges of the Civil War.
  • Theodore Roosevelt represents the DEVELOPMENT of our country. He promoted construction of the Panama Canal.

Mount Rushmore, one of the largest forms of artwork in the entire world, was creating using an amazing system.  Borglum familiarized himself with life masks, painting, photographs and descriptions of the four presidents. He then created multiple models at a ratio of 1:12 which his workmen could use as guides. One inch on the model equaled one foot on the mountain.  Using the ratio guidelines, the workmen were able to determine how much rock to remove and where.  In fact, 90% of the heads were carved with dynamite.

Having an appreciation for the creation of this majestic monument, and the presidents it immortalizes certainly places it on my bucket list.  I hope to reach South Dakota one day, but in the meantime, I look forward to “meeting” the four presidents at Gettysburg Festival this June.  What better place to present “The Presidents of Mount Rushmore” than Gettysburg–gathering America’s most treasured icons of history in one of her most historic places.  Why not join us on June 17 and check a few items off your bucket list?

Dean Malissa as George Washington

"Tomorrow...We Must Attack Him" by Dale Gallon

By Miriam Grinberg, Visual Arts Intern

Continuing our look at historical art, and the stories behind the artwork:

An oil painting by local artist Dale Gallon of Gallon Historical Art , titled “Tomorrow…We Must Attack Him,” shows a tense moment–a conversation between Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Liet. James Longstreet on July 1, 1863. According to Gallon, in this scene on the grounds of the Lutheran Theological Seminary west of Gettysburg, Lee listens to Longstreet’s arguments to move away from Gettysburg.  Lee’s mind, however, was already made up.  Gesturing emphatically, he stated, “If the enemy is there tomorrow, we must attack him.” Gallon’s prolific 31 year career has produced many masterworks such as this piece, which, like Lindenberger’s, shows a quiet but nonetheless seething moment of tension before the battle of Gettysburg was to take place. The antipating expressions on the faces of the soldiers in the background amplifies these feeling of uncertainty, and even fear, of what is next.

"Lincoln 142: Last Best Hope" by Wendy Allen

From Lee to Lincoln, our next preview focuses on a painting by another Gettysburg resident artist, Wendy Allen of Lincoln into Art Gallery. The gallery features many of Allen’s unique portraits of the 16th president, whose face represents to Allen “humanity, wisdom, and moral courage.” After a wonderful showing at last year’s Festival, Allen returns with new pieces like this one, “Lincoln 142: Last Best Hope,” remaining true to her style of experimentation with brushes, fingerpainting, and colors in her works. The painting’s subtitle comes from the last paragraph of Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress, delivered on December 1, 1862, in which he emphasized his commitment to freeing the slaves in the South.  “In giving freedom to the slave,” he wrote, “we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.” Through her piece, Allen hopes that we may “remind ourselves that freedom is elusive and a work-in-progress.”

"Dreams of Home" by John Weiss

Last but not least, artist John Weiss from Lord Nelson’s Gallery, known for his paintings of man’s best friend, displays a side of battle rarely seen. In his work “Dreams of Home,” Weiss creates a moving portrait of a confederate soldier connecting to “memories and places he holds dear to his heart” through the comfort of holding this dog. This painting is truly a testament to the power that common images have to connect us to the past; we can easily see ourselves in his place, our pets acting as steadfast friends in times of distress. It also brings home the heartbreak and homesickness of war, as we see the soldier escape from the battlefield in his mind and return to his friends and loved ones far removed from him.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see these fabulous pieces in person, along with the artists who created them, and much more, at this year’s History Meets the Arts.

History Meets the Arts kicks off Thursday, June 16 with the ticketed Edible Art Tour from 5-8 pm. All History Meets the Arts events continue on Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, with free admission to participating galleries.

By Miriam Grinberg, Visual Arts Intern

As a senior at Gettysburg College, I’ve walked through the battlefields of “the most famous small town in America” countless times. Each time I’ve tried to imagine how this quaint little Central Pennsylvanian locale became the site of the Civil War’s most famous battle, but I have always found it difficult to visualize the images of war strewn throughout such tranquil sites as Little Round Top, Seminary Hill, or even the College itself. The national park is littered with monuments to famous Civil War heroes and regiments, but these stationary statues give little insight into the scenes of war.

It has been the task of many artists in the years since the Civil War to take up this job of bringing the War to life for modern audiences, and the Festival honors this tradition by featuring a number of well-renowned historical artists and artisans in its 2011 History Meets the Arts lineup. Known as “the largest gathering of historical artists in the country,” Festival attendees will be able to enjoy downtown Gettysburg gallery exhibits featuring works by artists such as Dale Gallon, Amy Lindenberger, Keith Rocco, Wendy Allen, John Weiss, and many more. Special exhibits, live demonstrations, and talks with the artists are also included, giving attendees the opportunity to meet the artists and gain insight into their creative processes.

"The Devil's Den" by Keith Rocco

Many of these events will feature art which specifically focuses on the Civil War period, whether depicting full-blown battle scenes, discussions between generals, or quiet moments in the soldiers’ encampments. As this year’s Visual Arts intern for the Festival, I have had the unique opportunity to see new work from all the artists for this year’s HMTA ahead of the events themselves, and I wanted to share some of the images I have received from the participating galleries here to give everyone a glimpse of what’s in store for the weekend of Thursday, June 16 to Saturday, June 18, 2011.

The first piece that I would like to showcase is one by the Brafferton Inn‘s resident artist, Keith Rocco, entitled “The Devil’s Den” (the Inn is located on 44 York Street). His piece shows the fierce fighting taking place on July 2, 1863 near the formation of huge, ancient boulders known as “Devil’s Den” near Big and Little Round Top. When I first saw this painting, I was immediately struck not only by Rocco’s fastidious attention to detail, but also the vividness and immediacy with which he portrays the battle. The sweat, blood and distress that the soldiers are experiencing in that one moment comes across in a way that it never could from battlefield tours alone. (For more of Mr. Rocco’s works, visit his official website.)

"A Ransom for Gettysburg" by Amy Lindenberger

Leaving the battlefield, the second piece showcased in this blog is a unique colored-pencil work by local artist Amy Lindenberger, owner of the downtown Civil War Fine Art gallery on 333 Baltimore Street (link). Entitled “A Ransom for Gettysburg,” this painting depicts the arrival of Confederate general Jubal Early in Gettysburg on June 26, 1863. The “ransom” in the title comes from the demands Early and his troops would make on local towns as they passed through (including Gettysburg), “instilling uneasiness into the local population,” according to Lindenberger. The uneasiness and tension are amply evident in the piece; there are few people on the streets welcoming Early’s arrival, spectators standing gloomily in the background as the Confederates advance through an empty Baltimore Street. Though little of the vim and vigor of battle is present, the stresses on townspeople of shouldering the burden of such battles is amply demonstrated in Lindenberger’s piece.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog, featuring more exquisite Civil War-themed pieces from our featured History Meets the Arts participants!

For any questions, comments or concerns regarding this year’s History Meets the Arts participating galleries, artists, or special events, please visit the Gettysburg Festival website or call us at (717) 334-0853.

Wendy Allen, "Lincoln 125" - of Gettysburg's Lincoln into Art Gallery

By Alice Estrada, Festival Executive Director

Abraham Lincoln once said: “I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me.”   

I invite you to become a Friend of the Festival for the upcoming 2011 season, and support arts & culture in Gettysburg. 

Hopefully you have had the opportunity to experience the Festival personally by attending musical or theatrical performances, strolling through art galleries, or enjoying unique culinary experiences.  More than half of the Festival’s annual events are absolutely free and open to the public.  As planning is launched for the 2011 Festival, we are asking two favors of you: 

  • First, please save the dates and join us at the 4th Annual Gettysburg Festival, June 10-19, 2011. 
  • Second, please support arts and culture by joining the “Friends of the Festival” for the upcoming 2011 season. 

Children's events at Gettysburg Festival: designed to stimulate a life-long appreciation for the arts

Your Gettysburg Festival membership helps transform the Gettysburg community, building on the following success:

  • Nearly 200 FREE concerts, performances and art exhibits over the past three years.
  • More than 2,400 artists, musicians and performers…from James Earl Jones narrating A Lincoln Portrait to former White House Chef Walter Scheib creating culinary masterpieces in unique Adams County settings. 
  • Support of the Festival’s community compliment, the Fringe Festival, offering nearly 125 events over the past three years, more than half of which were FREE and provided a showcase for local artists/businesses.
  • Enriching, educational opportunities for all ages, from FREE Children’s Arts Fairs to conversations with top chefs, conductors and choreographers.
  • Economic benefits and improved quality of life to the greater Gettysburg community.

Capturing Gettysburg's Lincoln Square on canvas: the Festival's Artist Colony, June 2010

Click here for more information about the various levels and benefits of Festival Friendship.  Your tax-deductible donation directly benefits the non-profit Gettysburg Festival and ensures the future of accessible, quality arts programming.  Please know that ticket sales for Gettysburg Festival, as is the case with most festivals, cover only one-third of all operating expenses.  Therefore Friends of the Festival play a critical role in the Festival’s sustainability. 

One of the keys to a healthy community is its support of the arts.  According to a recent article in Parade magazine, “Happy people usually have access to art—painting, film, sculpture, theater, music.”  Gettysburg and central Pennsylvania have a wonderful resource for the arts in the Gettysburg Festival.   Join us as a Friend today and hope to see you in June.

By Jennifer Spindler, Festival Intern, Gettysburg College Class of 2010, Art History Major

Lincoln Into Art, 329 Baltimore Street, is a new gallery within one of Gettysburg’s vintage brick buildings. Although the facade is old, the inside looks brand new, with high ceilings and a fresh look. As soon as I walked in, bright colors from the paintings were jumping out at me. There are so many marvelous contemporary works, and ironically, all of them are of Abraham Lincoln by artist and gallery owner Wendy Allen. 

Lincoln 125 by Wendy Allen

The most interesting aspect to this gallery is not its roots in history and America but its clear modern contemporary style, with  influence from artists like Van Gogh and Warhol. When I asked Ms. Allen about her choice of Lincoln as subject matter, she explained that she loves contemporary artists like De Kooning and O’Keeffe but what she found missing in their work is that they ignore their history and their heritage. By choosing an individual she finds to be profound and powerful among American people, it takes her art to a different level. She has been painting Lincoln for thirty years now, and the question comes to mind, why Lincoln? Plain and simple, because she is in search of the exact location of America’s soul. And she says freedom is never finished.  I find her paintings to be expressionistic with deep rooted emotion. She plays with artistic elements of color and shape in order to create a new composition every time she paints Lincoln. I was even treated to a sneak peek into her studio, where she has been working on a breakthrough painting, one of Lincoln dead. The cools of the blues and purples are eerie and peaceful. It was awesome to be able to see an artist in the process of work.

Lincoln 106 by Wendy Allen

Lincoln into Art is a fine addition to the History Meets the Arts component to the upcoming Gettysburg Festival.  Wendy will be painting during the first weekend of the Festival, June 18-20, which should be exciting since she is very grainy when she paints and only uses her hands. She will be painting with another artist, a graffiti artist from Denver named Austin Matthews, for the weekend.

Lincoln into Art had its soft opening last weekend, making it now open to the public  for viewing, so check it out.  I like her work and her ideas; she is very original and I do not believe there is another artist like Wendy Allen in Gettyburg.  

Additionally, on April 10th the Lincoln into Art will be hosting speaker Jeremy Black, a British professor from the University of Exeter in U.K., as he gives a talk about the Civil War, from the British perspective. It all sounds very interesting and I am excited that this new hip gallery has decided to take its roots in Gettysburg!

For  more information:

The first snowfall of winter is melting away at the Festival office...

By Karen Hendricks, Festival PR/Marketing Director

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from the Gettysburg Festival!  The holiday season truly is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but the festival season is also upon us with less than six action-packed months until the 2010 Festival.  And for that reason, it’s also “the most wonderful time of the year” as the Gettysburg Festival office is transformed into an exciting whirlwind of activity.  I’ll even drop a few hints about 2010 highlight events in a moment…

The Festival's new Director of Development, Mary Lynn Billitteri, with husband Tom, enjoyed meeting Friends and volunteers, in between putting together exciting, new Festival sponsorships.

A Festival Open House set the holiday tone in early December, as we welcomed all volunteers and 2009 Friends of the Festival.  These warm and extremely supportive friends form the backbone of the June Festival, lending a helping hand with everything from office support, to transportation, monetary contributions, and serving as the friendly faces that welcome attendees to Festival events in June.  It’s so appropriate to recognize these key contributors during this season of giving.

Cheers! Brass Volunteer Ann Mease-Shiner toasts a successful 2009 Festival.

Speaking of giving, the Festival presented a holiday gift to the Borough of Gettysburg at the December Borough Council meeting.  Blue Lincoln, a massive painting by the 09 Festival artist Hunt Slonem, will now be on display to the public at Borough Hall.   Mayor William Troxell said of this $24,000 gift, “I think this magnificent painting is representative of not only the enduring legacy of President Lincoln, but also of the significance of the arts in Gettysburg.  We are truly blessed to have The Gettysburg Festival taking place in our borough every June.  We have always welcomed visitors attracted by Gettysburg’s history; now we are seeing more and more visitors coming for the Gettysburg Festival’s arts and culture as well.”

Bernie Yannetti, the Festival's Chairman of the Board of Trustees, presents "Blue Lincoln" to Mayor Troxell and members of Borough Council. The painting is almost as tall as the Mayor!

So as we wrap up 2009 and look forward to 2010, Festival plans are sizzling and percolating, (appropriate choice of words since many of our most popular events are of the culinary variety).  Here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite: 

  • Walter Scheib, returning as Artistic Director of Culinary Events in 2010, is designing an amazing, mouth-watering culinary lineup… including a repeat of the fun brunch event that sold out in 2009, plus a newly-designed formal dinner on a stage, a Caribbean-style cookout, and much more.  Stay tuned for more details!
  • Ben Jones is putting the finishing touches on the 2010 lineup, which will again offer about 20 concerts entirely free of charge to the public.  After showcasing such critically-acclaimed brass performers as Gramercy Brass Orchestra in 2008 and the River City Brass in 2009, we are looking north to a city known for its beans… to find our highlight brass performers for 2010. 
  • One of Gettysburg’s most popular arts and cultural events for the past dozen years, the annual History Meets the Arts Festival will be part of the Gettysburg Festival in 2010.  This will put Gettysburg’s unique downtown galleries in the spotlight.   In case you missed the official announcement a few weeks ago, click here for more details:
  • We are also proud to announce that WITF is once again partnering with the Festival as media sponsor.  This dynamic PBS and NPR affiliate is especially proud to promote a Festival-opening event set for June 18.  Let’s just say it’s going to be a wonderful event at the TOP of our lineup.
  • Buzz Jones is designing a fun and creative jazz lineup for 2010.  Events that cross-promote various genres of the arts have
    Buzz Jones, June 2009

    found the most success, and this year’s jazz lineup integrates that principal.  One of the jazz acts will be showcased within Walter’s afore-mentioned Caribbean-style cookout—fun!  Another jazz act will feature the music of “the chairman of the board” known for his hat and “old blue eyes.”  (more cheesy clues)

  • Speaking of hats, the Festival has found an enthusiastic partner “across the pond” in the DERBYshire region of the UK.  This partnership will bring an entirely new dimension to the Festival, while relying on a series of works from the 1800’s.  More details to come…

Well that’s enough for now.  We don’t want to let too many cats out of the bag.  There will be plenty of time for that in 2010—stay connected to the Festival via the website, e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter as the plans for 2010 are revealed.  Here’s to a happy, healthy and artistic 2010!

Helpful Links:

Last chance to become a 2010 “Friend of the Festival” while enjoying the tax credit for 2009:

Become a Fan of the Festival on Facebook:

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.