World of Coca-Cola exhibit, Summerville fest reflect renewed interest in Howard Finster

Howard Finster with the 13-foot-high Coca-Cola bottle he painted, at the High Museum of Art in 1989. The bottle will be among creations by the late Summerville folk artist on view in the World of Coca-Cola exhibit "Howard Finster: Visions of Coca-Cola," opening May 23. CONTRIBUTED BY THE COCA-COLA COMPANY

Howard Finster with the 13-foot-high Coca-Cola bottle he painted, at the High Museum of Art in 1989. The bottle will be among creations by the late Summerville folk artist on view in the World of Coca-Cola exhibit “Howard Finster: Visions of Coca-Cola,” opening May 23. CONTRIBUTED BY THE COCA-COLA COMPANY

While the Rev. Howard Finster created nearly 47,000 numbered works of folk art scrawled with soul-saving messages, he also frequently was inspired by the iconography of American pop culture. He was especially smitten with the curvy contours of the Coca-Cola bottle.

Finster’s Coke-fueled works, including bottles he painted that rise 8 and 13 feet tall, are the subject of an exhibition opening this weekend at the World of Coca-Cola, “Howard Finster: Visions of Coca-Cola.”

Interest in Finster is at an all-time high since his 2001 death because of the ongoing revival of Paradise Garden, his northwest Georgia folk art environment that was purchased by Chattooga County in 2012 in hopes of boosting tourism to the area.

For Atlantans ready for a road trip, the Paradise Garden Foundation, the nonprofit that operates and is restoring the folk art environment, will host Finster Fest in Summerville’s Dowdy Park, May 31-June 1. Featuring 50 artists and craftspeople, the fest also includes a Man of Vision Concert headlined by Shenandoah, the Alabama country music band, on May 31.

Read the full story about the Atlanta exhibit and Summerville festival on our subscriber site.

PREVIEW

“Howard Finster: Visions of Coca-Cola”

Opens May 23. Through May 2015 in the Pop Culture Gallery, World of Coca-Cola. Attraction hours vary. $16; ages 65 and up, $14; ages 3-12, $12. 121 Baker St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-676-5151, www.worldofcoca-cola.com.

Finster Fest 2014

11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 31, 1-5 p.m. June 1 in Dowdy Park in downtown Summerville. Free. Man of Vision Concert (featuring Shenandoah, Randall Bramblett Band, the Whiskey Gentry and Travis Denning Band), 5 p.m.-midnight May 31 on East Washington Street in downtown Summerville. $10 general admission; $50 VIP tickets. 706-808-0800, www.finsterfest.com.


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