Memphis in May Unveils 2017 Beale Street Music Festival Art & Poster

2017 MIM Poster

February 21, 2017. Memphis, TN. Memphis in May International Festival celebrated the completion of another spectacular work from beloved Memphis artist George Hunt on Tuesday night. The commemorative piece of art, which was unveiled at Triumph Bank in Germantown, marked the 25th time Hunt had created an original work for the festival.

Entitled “Sweet Mama Play Me Some Blues,” Hunt said that all the women in his life served as his inspiration for this year’s painting. The work reflects this goal by placing a strong composite female character in the center. Like the bottle labeled in the painting’s lower right, women have brought “Big Joy” to the artist.

“You see, she is raising a guitar,” Hunt said of the central female figure. “That is what women in my life have done, just lifted me up.”

“Beale Street Music Festival has been fortunate to have such a talented artist create iconic pieces for the past 25 years,” said James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May. “George is a dear friend to this organization and his work continues to be an inspiration to us all.”

The 2017 Beale Street Music Festival poster, as well as posters from previous years, can be purchased at area art galleries including 1910 Frameworks, the “Official Framer of Memphis in May” and at Midtown Framer & Art. The cost for the commemorative poster is $60 for a signed version and $30 for unsigned. This year's poster can also be reserved online by visiting TicketFly.

About the Artist: Born in 1940 in rural Lake Charles, Louisiana, Hunt’s earliest artistic experiments consisted of drawings, paintings, and magazine collages inspired by many well-known artists, including Picasso. Hunt received his Bachelor of Art from the University of Arkansas and Masters of Art from the University of Memphis. For over thirty-five storied years, Hunt taught art at Carver High School in Memphis.

Hunt’s exuberant style is represented in many commissions and museum collections, including The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Chicago Blues Festival, New York’s International Art Expo, Bravo Television Network, to name a few, and in 2003 Hunt was commission to paint the “Year of the Blues.” His commissioned work was featured in Radio City Music Hall at the official kick-off celebration. Hunt’s painting America Cares (1997), which hung in the White House, was featured on a 2005 United States Postage Stamp as part of a 10-stamp series celebrating the nation’s civil rights movement.

More information on George Hunt can be found on his web site:

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