April 2, 2013, Gulf Shores, AL (GSA) — The 42nd Annual National Shrimp Festival™ presented by Zatarain’s may still be more than six months away, but committee members have already been busy.

At a committee meeting on March 19, members chose an entry by Fairhope artist Loran Chavez as this year’s official Shrimp Festival poster. The committee consists of approximately 100 volunteers who coordinate everything from retail sales to signing entertainers to perform at the festival.

“The design features multiple shrimp along with several other undersea wonders including sand dollars and two gorgeous mermaids,” Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce Special Events Director Ann VonEberstein said. “One shrimp is playing a guitar, another is painting a picture and two more are hard at work cooking. These shrimp represent different, but equally important, aspects of our festival – music, food and art.”

Chavez said she grew up in an Air Force family, and the experiences she had as a youngster has shaped her art.

“I grew up with a different point of view of the world around me,” she said. “I traveled extensively with my parents because my father was in the Air Force. “This travel gave me the chance to see and do things that most children only dream about. That zest for life has followed me into my adult years. My love of the world around me has also been a major influence on my artwork.”

Shrimp Festival Chairman Matt Mogan said he was impressed not only with the beauty of the poster, but that Chavez brought something else to the table. She has, for the past several years, been chosen by a jury of the Fine Arts committee of the Festival to display her art in a booth at the Festival.

“We were thrilled when the votes were tallied and we realized that the committee had chosen Loran’s poster,” he said. “We thought it was great that a member of our Shrimp Fest family won the competition for the official poster. I think it speaks volumes about the quality of the artists that are chosen by our Fine Arts committee.”

Chavez said she was thrilled to have her art chosen to represent the Festival.

“I’ve submitted a poster each year I’ve been chosen to have a booth at the Festival,” she said. “I guess the fifth time’s a charm.”

VonEberstein said after Chavez was notified she won, she shared a touching story.

“It was Loran’s mom who kept encouraging her to keep submitting posters for the Shrimp Festival,” she said. “When we called her to let her know she had won, she told me that her mom had passed away the week before. I think her winning is a touching tribute to her mother.”

Although the competition was fierce with more than 20 entrants, VonEberstein said the poster Chavez submitted was her personal favorite.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” she said. “While the beauty caught my eye right off the bat, the poster has many elements to it that mean only one thing – the beach.

We are Alabama’s original beach party. We want people to be able to come down, have fun and enjoy our music, food, art and, of course, our beaches.”

The winning poster will be on sale online and at the Chamber’s offices in Gulf Shores beginning Aug. 1. Chavez will also be on hand during the Festival to sign and number a limited supply of prints which will be available for purchase.

For more of Chavez’s work see her website at www.loranchavez.com. To view an interview on YouTube with Chavez and Mogan talking about the poster, click here.

This year’s Shrimp Festival will take place in Gulf Shores Oct. 10 through 13 where Ala. Hwy. 59 meets the Gulf. For more information, see the festival website at www.nationalshrimpfestival.com.