BY BETTY FREEMAN
Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
Aug. 26, 2013
Excitement is building for the 13th annual DjangoFest NW 2013, which happens from Sept.18 to 22 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA) in Langley.
DjangoFest attracts gypsy jazz musicians and enthusiasts from all over the world to Langley each year. But to help promote the festival even further, WICA negotiated with the South Whidbey School District to paint the street side of the bus barn chalkboard black in preparation for a special mural by Matt Statz, a 2006 graduate of South Whidbey High School, who now lives and works in Seattle.
Statz started working on the mural Aug. 12 and the piece was complete by the time folks flooded into town for the Whidbey Island Fair weekend.
“I had some days off from my job at Harborview,” Statz said.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend some sunny days than to be here on Whidbey painting this mural.”
Prominent in the center of the painting is the legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, with his signature bow tie and for whom the festival is named. The other musicians pictured are not based on real people, Statz said. The artist began by sketching the musicians in chalk; then he used acrylic paint to fill in the colors and details.
Statz said he painted backdrops for DjangoFest in 2008 and 2009, so he jumped at the chance to paint the mural when WICA offered him the commission. He has also painted backdrops for other plays and events at WICA, and for Whidbey Children’s Theater.
DjangoFest performances and workshops start Wednesday, Sept. 18 and run through Sunday, Sept. 22.
Get tickets for the event at tickets.wicaonline.com.