The 33rd Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show is proud to present this year’s poster artist, Kana Handel. The poster showcases this local artist’s passion for storytelling, her love of nature and her admiration for her adopted hometown. Entitled “‘Round Midnight on the Prairie,” this year’s poster depicts alligators gathered together on a boat to form a jazz band late at night somewhere over the prairie. In painting this piece, Handel wanted to create a story around key elements identified with Gainesville, the natural beauty and serenity of Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park and the cultural wealth of the city’s art and music. She hopes this image invites everyone to the peaceful dreamy world.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Handel has wanted to paint for as long as she can remember. After attending the renowned Musashino Art University in Tokyo, she began a career illustrating books and magazines. When she moved to the United States, she began painting fine art, and has won top awards in nationally-recognized shows throughout the country. Working in a variety of mixed media - including oil, acrylic, sumi ink, watercolor, dried pigment, handmade paper and lesser-known material like persimmon juice, crushed oyster shells, milk and light, Handel integrates storytelling and emotions to explore our relationship with nature and the world. Her work illustrates a conviction that art has the power to heal, but more importantly, a belief in the power of imagination - the child spirit in us all.