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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.