GrandPre to create art for Bradenton Blues Festival

mclear@bradenton.comAugust 1, 2013 

Mary GrandPre and Paula Murray with 2012 Bradenton Blues Fest poster. PHOTO PROVIDED

Her work has appeared on some of the best-selling books of all time, on the cover of Time magazine and in the pages of the New Yorker.

Now, for the second straight year, Mary GrandPre will create the art for the official poster for the Bradenton Blues Festival.

"She's an amazing artist and illustrator," said Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, which organizes the festival. "To have her support for the Bradenton Blues Festival, for blues education and for downtown Bradenton is wonderful."

GrandPre, who lives in Sarasota, created the cover art and interior illustrations for all seven Harry Potter fantasy novels. She was already a successful artist and illustrator before she started working on the Potter books, which, of course, brought her the most attention.

She usually gets big money for her work, but she's donating her time and talent to the blues festival.

"It shows her generous spirit," Isham said. "She's an artist of such international caliber that a nonprofit would not be able to afford to have her do this kind of work."

Isham had known GrandPre for about 15 years and approached her about creating the poster for the first Bradenton Blues Festival

last year. GrandPre, an avid blues fan, was eager to take the project, Isham said.

GrandPre will work with Paula Murray of ArteFact Design in Sarasota to create the poster.

There's no word on what GrandPre's art for the poster will look like.

"She's working on it as we speak," Isham said.

Last year's poster was "iconic," Isham said, and she expects a waiting list for people to buy the 2013 poster.

A limited edition of 200 posters signed by the artist will sell for $50 apiece. The money will be used to support the Blues in the Schools program, which brings artists from the blues festival into Manatee High School to work with music students.

The posters go on sale Oct. 15 at Keeton's Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave. W., in downtown Bradenton.

GrandPre's original artwork will be auctioned the day before the festival, which is slated for Dec. 7 on Bradenton's Riverwalk. Among the big-name acts scheduled to appear are Shemekia Copeland, Eddie Shaw & the Wolfgang and Trampled Underfoot.

To order the poster or bid on GrandPre's original artwork, contact Morgan Bettes at The subject line on the e-mail should read "Bradenton Blues Festival: Inquiry about 2013 poster."

For information about the festival itself, go to

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7919. Follow

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