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George Hunt’s final Beale Street Music Festival poster unveiled

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – Memphis in May unveiled this year Beale Street Music Festival Tuesday night poster, the latest created by a legendary artist George Hunt.

The prolific painter from Memphis died in December 2020 at the age of 83. Today, nearly two dozen of his music festival posters are on display for you to see.

Hunt began painting the BSMF’s annual posters in 1992. These early seven paintings were auctioned off to private collectors, but the others now shine boldly and brilliantly in a retrospective exhibition at the Renasant Congress Center in downtown Memphis that fans are sure to enjoy.

“I know George would smile,” Memphis President and CEO Jim Holt told Action News 5 in May, “He created the image. He’s like the heart and soul of the festival, if you look at the banners on the stages, the design of the event cover and some of the merchandise that we sell His paintings perfectly reflect our city’s musical heritage which is rooted in the blues, and rock and roll is from the blues.

Hunt’s wife of 63 years, Marva, attended the unveiling along with other family members.

She said she was deeply touched by this permanent exhibition of her late husband’s art.

“He would be so happy and honoured. And to see everyone…me…his daughter and his grandchildren…and his friends are all here,” she said, “I’m really proud of George. I’m really proud of him. And I miss him everyday.

While fans are sure to miss seeing new art from Hunt, his grandson Kash Yeargin said he will miss his grandfather’s guidance.

“I think hearing him speak and learning from him, from his past experience and gaining that wisdom,” Yeargin said, “That’s something you can’t replace. And I think his legacy will be qu “He’s more than a good painter. He was also a good person.”

It’s something that everyone who has met George Hunt echoes. His paintings hung in museums and the White House, but he always remained humble, helpful and inspiring.

“He was a cherished character,” said MIM’s Holt, “and I think this exhibit pays a wonderful tribute to him. People appreciate his work so much. He was a teacher by profession for many years, so he trained many young artists. And he was just a kind, wonderful, lovely man. This year, the Beale Street Music Festival runs from April 29 to May 1 at the Liberty Park Fairgrounds in Midtown, while its usual scenic location, Tom Lee Park by the Mississippi River in downtown, suffers a $60 million facelift.

To see the list of performing artists and get ticket information, Click here.

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