The 34th Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show is proud to present this year's poster artist, Harriet Huss. Inspired by the theme of "where nature and culture meet," the poster showcases this local artist's devotion to the preservation of north Florida's wild places.
Entitled "Pristine Florida - Sourcespring of Creativity," the artwork depicts Gainesville's historic Hippodrome Theatre placed in a natural environment. The setting is a fantasy composite of a large spring, palmettos, palms and salt marsh grasses, elements that would not be found together in nature, but are meant to be symbolic of the wealth of water and woodland natural assets in our Eden-like heartland. In creating this mixed media piece, Huss wanted to express her passion for these vital assets as the lifeblood of our community and her concern that we risk losing them at our peril; both with the ongoing degradation of the springs and aquifer and in the loss of woodlands to expanding pavement. For her, these unique gifts also feed the community spiritually in the inspiration they give; not just to artists, but to everyone who experiences the healing power of wild places. In using the Hippodrome Theatre in the image and enhancing it with lively color, she wanted to pay homage to the very vital role it "plays;" but in addition it is also used here as a symbol of the city of Gainesville itself and the intensely creative community it has become. She hopes the image encourages everyone to ponder our precious Florida as a crossroads of art and natural abundance, and to seek out their own forms of connecting with and valuing its artistic and natural beauty.
Harriet Huss has been a professional artist for more than 40 years, since graduating with a dual major in Art and Literature from Eckerd College in 1973. Her work has been collected regionally, nationally and internationally. Her award-winning images are available in numerous galleries throughout Florida. In addition, she created the Melrose Bay Gallery, serving as gallery director for 10 years, and created and directed the Melrose Open Air Arts event for eight years. Currently, she devotes full time to artwork and environmental issues. Huss developed her own unique mixed media technique to achieve luminous color; combining materials as diverse as acrylic paint, watercolor, watercolor crayon, pastel and colored pencil in varying combinations, wet and dry, in intense layering, with a large degree of intuition as a key element in the process. For some works, she also incorporates her own original photographs as embedded portions of a piece, using a technique devised after years of experimentation. She has explored Florida from north to south and along both coasts. Beloved wild places throughout Florida are a source of inspiration as well as her family's acres of untouched oak hammock that surrounds her painting studio. Her goal is to tell a story of the real Florida, to evoke a vibrant and enchanting world, with an added hope that her viewers are moved in their chosen way to protect this fragile and beautiful part of the planet.
T-shirts and posters with Huss's image will be available at the 2015 Downtown Festival & Art Show, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will fill historic downtown, from City Hall to the Hippodrome Theatre, with art, fine cuisine and live music on three stages. A collection of 240 of the nation's top artists will display their original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, breathtaking sculptures, elegant jewelry, decorative ceramics and stunning photography. Children can also create their own masterpieces at the "Imagination Station," which offers a vast selection of free, hands-on art activities. For more information visit www.gvlculturalaffairs.org, visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/DowntownFestivalandArtShow or call the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department at 352-334-ARTS.