By Phoebe Lusk-Hussong
What's more Memphis than Music Fest or Memphis in May? George Hunt. Memphis-based artist George Hunt has an exhibition currently displayed in the Levy Gallery. See how Mr. Hunt's background in the rural South influenced his work, and how St. Mary's will be collaborating with him.
There’s nothing more Memphis than Memphis in May. There’s nothing more Memphis in May than Music Fest. There’s nothing more Music Fest than George Hunt’s posters. His bright colors, shapes, and mixed media display the culture of the Mid-South and have captured the spirit of Music Fest for the last 21 years. As Mrs. Prillaman puts it, “He is the iconic Memphis artist. His work is Memphis, and if you look in the show, it’s just Memphis and the Mid-South.”
From September 23 through October 31, the Buckman will be hosting an exhibit for George Hunt in the Levy Gallery. Hunt is a southern artist who is nationally known for his paintings depicting the blues, Memphis, Southern culture, and important historical events during the Civil Rights Movement. Hunt’s work does not reflect the characteristics of traditional art but, instead, is more reflective of folk art.
Though he was born in rural Louisiana, Hunt spent most of his childhood in Texas and Arkansas. He attended the University of Arkansas and then went on to attend the University of Memphis and New York University for his postgraduate work. After graduating, Hunt taught as an art teacher at George Washington Carver High School for 30 years before dedicating his life to painting. He was even named the Official Artist for the national “Year of the Blues” in 2003.
George Hunt’s work can be seen all over Memphis as well as throughout the whole country. His painting “America Cares/Little Rock Nine” hung in the White House for 5 years and was chosen to be included in a US Postage Stamp series in 2005 which was entitled To Form a More Perfect Union.
On October 21, George Hunt will give a gallery talk and will help girls from Knowledge Quest, a nonprofit that provides a safe place for children from poorer parts of Memphis to go after school to learn after school lessons, create their own pieces inspired by his work. Since his art is on display just steps from our hallowed halls, everyone should make the short walk to personally experience the creations of this nationally renowned Memphis artist.