HOUMA, LA — Best of the Bayou has selected the official artwork for its inaugural festival poster, chosen after a 15-day contest open to all area artists. The winning artwork is a painting by Susan Shaffer of Schriever. Her painting was one of eleven entries--mostly paintings, into the contest.
Shaffer’s painting, untitled, is an acrylic on gessoed canvas and brings to life familiar images of downtown Houma – some old, like People’s drug store on historic Main Street, and some relatively new, like the Bayou Walk lining Bayou Terrebonne. And what’s “the bayou” without a gator or perhaps a guitar-listening gator? “Shaffer managed to capture many characteristics of the things we love about our town and traditions. I was immediately drawn to her art work,” said Katie Portier, Chair of the BOB Poster Review Committee, which included volunteer judges from local arts and community organizations.
Artists were not required to use specific images from downtown or the festival logo for the contest. Guidelines only stated that that the theme should demonstrate or embody the spirit of the festival and be the artists’ individual interpretation of the best aspects of “the bayou.”
Shaffer said winning the contest has inspired her to paint more. She started painting as a teenager in her home state of Mississippi, creating and selling pastel portraits of children and families. Most of her professional life, however, has involved graphic design, marketing and publicity. She said the majority of her time spent painting recently has included walls and shutters inside her Ardoyne Plantation home, which Shaffer and her husband Lee are restoring.
Shaffer, a long-time resident of Louisiana, said the seafood and “warm, friendly people,” are her favorite things about living in Terrebonne Parish, and she is not only thrilled about winning the poster contest but about the festival, too. She said, “Best of the Bayou is long overdue and will hopefully bring more tourists into our community. Houma has so much to offer and the festival is a great way to showcase and introduce our culture of delicious food, music, crafts and bayou living to others.”
Shaffer’s painting will be reprinted as the official poster and available for sale at the festival, with all proceeds going to the Best of the Bayou Foundation. Shaffer will be on hand at a scheduled time during the festival (to be announced) to sign purchased posters, and a limited number of them will be signed in advance for sponsors. The remaining art pieces submitted into the contest will be on display inside the Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild in Downtown Houma during the festival.