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Teen's painting chosen as official 2013 Western Maryland Blues Fest art

February 06, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • The painting "Soulful Quartet" by Barbara Ingram School for the Arts senior Erin Mettille has been chosen as this year's Western Maryland Blues Fest art, which will appear on posters, T-shirts, advertising and programs.
(Submitted photo/Courtesy City of Hagerstown)

HAGERSTOWN — Western Maryland Blues Fest officials have unveiled the 2013 feature artwork, a trademark of the annual festival.

Erin Mettille, a senior at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in downtown Hagerstown, was announced as this year’s chosen artist on Tuesday before Mayor David S. Gysberts and the Hagerstown City Council at City Hall.

Part of a school project, Mettille’s colorful oil painting called “Soulful Quartet” took about three weeks to create and depicts four musicians playing various blues instruments: guitar, piano, harmonica and trumpet.

“The colors of it were so neat,” said Carl Disque, founder and chair of Blues Fest, now entering its 18th year in Hagerstown. “We’ve never had a green or emerald-based color poster, and that was kind of neat. Blue and yellow make green, so it does have ‘blue,’ if you think of it that way.”

Mettille’s work was selected out of 48 total submissions, the most ever received for the event’s call to artists that goes out every fall, according to Karen Giffin, the city’s Community Affairs manager.

“It is the poster. It is the front cover of the program. It becomes T-shirts. It becomes national ads,” Giffin said. “So it’s very important to us.”

Aspiring to be a career artist, Mettille, 18, said she felt a little “blown away” that she was picked, especially because it means her work will be seen by a national audience.

“I was so happy and just really excited that I had this opportunity and I actually got something out of it ... get my name out there before I’m even in college or anything,” she said. “That’s like really exciting. It’s such a great honor.”

Giffin said she was thrilled to be able to feature a student-artist in this year’s promotional materials, and pointed out that Mettille was only a newborn at the time Blues Fest got started almost 18 years ago.

“I think it’s great for the festival,” Giffin said. “I think it really showcases the school for the arts. It will definitely showcase her piece of art and it also shows how everything ties together.”

Artwork is selected anonymously by organizers, including representatives of the Washington County Arts Council, where Mettille also will receive a month-long exhibit as part of her selected submission.

Mary Anne Burke, executive director of the arts council, said the committee typically receives digital submissions from up and down the East Coast, with one this year coming from Florida.

Mettille’s solo exhibit at the gallery, located at 34-36 S. Potomac St., will take place from May 30, the opening day of Blues Fest, through June 25. An opening reception will take place May 30 at 6 p.m., Burke said.

Giffin said the original artwork will be raffled off during the festival later this year to, in part, pay for a small stipend for the young artist. Mettille said she will receive $500.

Mettille, the daughter of Marty and Paul Mettille of Waynesboro, Pa., and Fort Ritchie, Md., respectively, will be headed to Georgia after high school to attend Savannah College of Art and Design, where she already has received a $48,000 academic scholarship over four years, plus the possibility of an artistic achievement scholarship.

The 18th annual Blues Fest is set for Thursday, May 30 through Sunday, June 2.

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