Director: Laurel Guy | Theme: "That's Imagination "
Due to low button sales in previous years the Ithaca Festival was nearly canceled. But at the last minute it rose like a Phoenix from the ashes, renewed again. The spirit at this Festival was the best in years! The energy was high and the community responded—we sold 10,000 buttons this year and the Festival was back on solid financial ground. The weather was sunny, dry and 73 degrees every day!
This was the year of the Phoenix built by Durand van Doren. It was 35 feet long and 25 feet high. It was going to be burned on Cayuga Lake at the end of the Festival as the Grand Finale but it was not meant to be! It took us until 1997 to perfect this “fire on the water.”
“Imagination is the source for all creativity, the vehicle that transforms daily life into something magical.” – Laurel Guy
David Finn, 1994 Festival Artist
In 1977, Ithaca voted for David Finn’s image, choosing it as the winning design to be painted on the back of the Strand Theatre in conjunction with the very first Ithaca Festival. “I was able to create an image that would evoke Cayuga Lake, and the hills surrounding Ithaca. I thought of the field of color as an abstract oasis of human activity surrounded by the natural world. I could have never started working on such a large surface without lots of help and advice. It took six weeks to paint.”
For sixteen years, Ithacans drove, walked, biked and stumbled past Finn’s beautiful mural, enjoying it even after the Strand was empty. In 1993, when the building was torn down, many Ithacans sadly wished there was some way to peel the mural off the wall. By reincarnating the mural as this year’s Festival T-shirt and button design, we have given the community a piece of Ithaca history.