A bustling crowd showed up yesterday evening at Glave Kocen gallery for the unveiling of the 2016 Richmond Folk Fest poster.
The local artist chosen this year was illustrator Katie McBride, a graphic design artist who works for the communications department at the University of Richmond.
For this viewer, the new design inspired memories of a childhood television special, "Emmett Otter's Jug-band Christmas." Her poster pictures a friendly banjo raccoon staring up at a constellation of band names as some other forest critters look on, seemingly trying to decide whether to see beatboxer Rahzel or maybe some gospel quartet singing by the Fairfield Four.
The artist says that she has always enjoyed drawing banjo raccoons since doing a poster featuring raccoons several years ago.
"Kind of what they tell you is to make it Richmondey, but other than that there isn't much direction," she says about the Folk Fest job. "I was thinking about the river, the woods, so I wanted to bring the raccoon back."
McBride was thrilled to be chosen for the job by the organizers of the Richmond Folk Fest, she says, for a number of reasons.
"Honestly, getting to work for someone who is so positive and gives a ton of creative freedom has been the best part," she says. "You send your sketch, they send it to past artists who give creative feedback. That was awesome."
Maybe the best part was having her work included on the wall with some past artists who were her teachers at VCU, such as Sterling Hundley.
Silkscreen versions of the poster are available at Plan 9 Records while supplies last.
This year's Folk Fest runs from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9 and features artists ranging from beatbox master Rahzel to the funky horn of Maceo Parker as well as rock originator Gary U.S. Bonds and Gene "Daddy G" Barge.