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THE SHOALS-The Music Preservation Society, Inc. Board (MPS) is excited to announce Dinah Rhodes as the artist who designed this year’s art for the W.C. Handy Music Festival.  This special design created by Rhodes will appear on official Handy Festival t-shirts, posters, brochures, website, and social media.

According to Rhodes, “Designing the poster was great fun and a challenge for me.  I hand painted the design, using only four colors as required by the contest rules.  That was a real challenge for me, as my paintings are usually full of colors!  I chose blue as the main color because of the abundance of water surrounding the Shoals.  The four musicians and the four open spillways represent Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals.  The trumpet is for W.C. Handy himself.  LeeAlice Monroe did a great job of adding the graphics, and we chose a font reminiscent of the 1920’s which mimics the movement of the waters in the spillways.  The negative space in the spillways created musical notes.   I placed the musicians on the dam after I read an old article about a fundraiser held in Florence many years ago, where they blocked off the dam to traffic and held a dinner on the dam.  I thought of those citizens eating together under the moonlight on the dam, and was inspired to recreate such a scene in my painting.  I think that’s an idea worthy of bringing back to the area!”

MPS Board members loved the design and complemented Rhodes and graphic artist LeeAlice Monroe who added the text required by the design competition.  MPS officers liked that this design is different from the others recently selected, and they look forward to see how the well art will display on shirts.

This year’s 43rd W.C. Handy Festival design will be featured on the 2023 t-shirts on white for public sale, blue for Handy Hosts and sponsors, and black for staff.  A limited number of posters will be autographed by the artist.  Those will be available for sale along with unsigned posters at Handy Headquarters located in the Southall-Moore House, 215 East Tuscaloosa Street, across from Wilson Park in Florence.  Posters and other concession items will soon be available for purchase.  More information about the Handy Festival can be found at or by using a QR Code seen on the official posters.

Media Release/Music Preservation Society, Inc.

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