Tricentennial commemorative poster unveiled

Published 12:02 am Sunday, May 1, 2016

Natchez looks different in the eyes of each beholder.

For some, the thought of Natchez conjures up a hot-air balloon dotting the sky.

For others, maybe it’s fireworks bursting their colors over the Mississippi River. Perhaps it’s an antebellum house or a riverboat cruising on foggy water.

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No one image defines the 300-year-old city, and that’s why the group of volunteers that make up the Natchez Tricentennial Arts Committee decided its commemorative poster for the 300th should be not one representation of Natchez, but many.

The arts committee opened a contest last year for residents to submit photographs to appear on the poster, asking photographers to submit a photo of what Natchez meant to them.

Anyone — professional and amateur photographers alike — could submit up to 10 photographs.

Of the 150 photographs submitted, 14 were chosen for the poster. Submissions were kept anonymous until judging was complete.

The winning photographers are Salongo Lee, Leslie Bruning, Stan Smith, William Bradley, Beverly Adams, Sally Durkin, Ed Godfrey, Barbara Kaiser, Sue Burkhalter and Tom Taylor.

Committee member and local artist Katelee Laird designed the poster, incorporating the winning photographs into a collage-style design.

The result, poster committee chair Sue Burkhalter said, exceeded expectations.

“It’s just awesome, really beautiful,” Burkhalter said. “I really love it, and it was just beautifully done and a great effort by everyone.”

Most importantly, Burkhalter said, the poster represents various aspects of Natchez and includes different viewpoints of defining images of the city.

“We really wanted to make sure everyone had an opportunity to participate, and what came out of it, are different representations of what Natchez means to these various people,” she said.

A goal of the tricentennial has always been to include all segments of the community and varying viewpoints in the 300th year projects, Interim Tourism Director Jennifer Ogden Combs said. Combs is also the director of the tricentennial.

“I’m thrilled because the poster is gorgeous, but I am especially excited that this project included many people in the community and encouraged them to take ownership of this project, and that’s really what we’re trying to do here — let everyone make their mark on this wonderful year,” Combs said.

Posters are available for $10 each at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center and at Dianne’s Frame Shop. Burkhalter said the committee hopes to have them in other local shops soon. Posters will also be available at upcoming Natchez Tricentennial events.