In anticipation of LeMoyne’s 23rd Annual Chain of Parks Art Festival this spring, LeMoyne recently unveiled the Festival’s 2023 cover art and artist during a “Sponsor Appreciation & Announcement Soiree.” Local artist Anne Hempel’s work, “Wood Whittlers,” will grace this year’s Festival posters, shirts and magazine.
LeMoyne’s Chain of Parks Art Festival was recently named the No. 1 Florida art festival and the No. 7 art festival nationwide in the category of Fine Art and Design for 2022, according to Sunshine Artist Magazine. Organizers believe the 2023 event will be one of the best yet, set for Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16, at the Bloxham, Lewis and Randolph “Chain of Parks,” located in Downtown Tallahassee. The event as always is free and open to the public.
“The Chain of Parks Art Festival brings some of the nation’s top fine artists to the Capital City as a way to not only expand on the opportunity for regional art collectors, but also introduce fine arts to those who may not have experienced it,” said Festival Chair Kelly Dozier. “We are proud this year to announce Anne Hempel and her work ‘Wood Whittlers,’ a beautiful representation of North Florida nature, for this year’s cover art.”
Hempel, a Florida State University graduate, has been a full-time artist for more than 15 years. Previously an elementary school teacher, she has also taught English in Japan, and she says she loves being outdoors and volunteering in her community. Hempel creates all of her work on hand-crafted wood panels built by her husband, a biologist. Her technique includes applying multiple layers of thickened acrylic paint, creating an impasto style that reflects light and adds expressiveness to the painting. The canvas being wood makes it “the perfect surface” Hempel says to use a palette knife and various tools to carve into the wet paint, creating “kind of like a three-dimensional sculptural rendering.”
“Listening to music that moves me while I paint is a must and it weaves its way into every painting,” adds Hempel. “I am fearless when it comes to experimenting with color and texture, my technique is always evolving. I also live in a swampy, heavily wooded area with trails and boardwalks leading to endless natural vignettes that offer inspiration.”
During the Chain of Parks Art Festival, visitors can view and purchase unique works of art from 150 carefully selected fine artists while enjoying a weekend filled with interactive children’s art activities, mouth-watering food, live entertainment and local heritage re-enactments.
New in 2023
“Each year, we assess the best way to improve or add elements to the Festival to make it the best experience for attendees and artists,” said Powell Kreis, LeMoyne’s Programming Director and Festival Manager. “We are planning several special additions for 2023 that add to the cultural and nature experiences in our beautiful park setting.”
After a successful inaugural Downtown Pop-up Exhibit of painted rain barrels last year, a 2023 Pop-up Exhibit will feature whimsical Birdhouse Sculptures placed at the Festival’s downtown sponsor locations for the public to enjoy. Up to 10 local and regional artists will create the public artworks, which will be displayed throughout Downtown Tallahassee, March 15 – April 14, and then transferred to the Festival for a Silent Auction.
“We are looking forward to strolling through the display of whimsical, creative birdhouses made using sustainable materials to go along with our greening efforts,” added Kreis. “With our cover art including woodpeckers, this is a great year to celebrate our feathered friends.”
The Festival will again welcome several 3-D chalk artists to create live during the event. To enhance this experience, a favorite in recent years among guests, the Festival will include a natural oasis where attendees can sit, rest and enjoy viewing the artists while they work on their creations.
Building on the previous years’ success of the Jacques Le Moyne encampment, “The Village” area will be back with even more interactive local heritage booths recognizing the many groups that have contributed to the culture and heritage of our community.
Juried Fine Art Competition
Artisans travel from across the nation to display their original works of fine art for sale, helping to further the importance of fine art in the lives of community members. On Saturday of the Festival, judges will review the artists’ works in each media category and winners will be announced on Sunday, when the winning artists’ award ribbons and flags will be displayed in their booths. Winning artists vie for a total of $10,000 in awards.
The Festival continues to have a positive economic impact on our local community. A recent economic impact study showed that Festival attendees who live outside of Leon County had an impact of close to $1.2 million dollars on the local community, meaning increased spending at local businesses resulting from tourism dollars. Last year’s Annual Chain of Parks Art Festival drew 38,500 total attendees. For more information on the 2023 Chain of Parks Art Festival, visit the website www.ChainofParks.com. Receive the latest Festival social media updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.