The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has revealed its official 2023 poster by New Orleans-based artist Alex Beard. A painter and bestselling author, Beard is best known for his elaborate wildlife compositions created in his signature style of gestural painting, which he coined “Abstract Naturalism.”
The second-annual book festival will take place March 9-11 on Tulane University's uptown campus. Family Day at the Festival will take place on Saturday, March 11, inside the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse. All events are free and open to the public.
Beard has authored and illustrated a series of children’s books called Tales from the Watering Hole, which includes Jungle Grapevine, The Lying King, Crocodile's Tears and Monkey See, Monkey Draw.
“I hope children and families associate the poster and the festival with the library, and it leads people to library cards and a lifetime of loving books.”
- Alex Beard, New Orleans-based artist and bestselling author
The art for this year’s poster, titled The Reading Tree, showcases a lively and grand brown tree filled with various colorful animals happily reading their favorite books. A lush string of green leaves surrounds the tree, providing a landing spot for many curious creatures and insects. A green alligator and a white pelican are comfortably nestled and reading at the tree’s base. The piece also depicts shades of blue for the sky and water filled with fish and sharks.
“From the beginning, it struck me that this poster should be of a couple of animals sitting at the foot of a tree that was full of animals reading books,” Beard said. “When you look at it more closely, it's something that fits into the style of work that I do for the parables I have written. My children’s book collection, Tales from the Watering Hole, are each illustrated, and since this is a literary festival, I thought it was appropriate for me to stay in the theme of what I do in the literary world.”
“The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University is thrilled to work with such an iconic New Orleans artist as Alex Beard on the development of our 2023 Official Book Festival poster,” said Cheryl Landrieu, co-chair of the book festival. “Alex’s style and creativity in the design of this artwork perfectly exemplify the ideas and imagination we are striving to ignite through this exciting literary event.”
Posters are available for purchase online here or in person at the Barnes and Noble College Bookstore, located inside the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life and the Alex Beard Studio (3926 Magazine St.), beginning in late February and during all three days of the festival. A limited supply of posters hand-signed by Beard is available for $100, while unsigned posters are $45. The Alex Beard Studio will fill online orders.
“The poster was done from a place of joy. It’s for a book festival so it should be cheerful. I hope it brings a smile to the children’s faces, and they can pick out the little animals reading in the poster as some of their favorite characters. I want them to remember the festival itself as something they enjoyed. I hope children and families associate the poster and the festival with the library, and it leads people to library cards and a lifetime of loving books,” Beard said.
“I hope the children and their parents who come to the book festival come away with a love for reading. When you open the cover of a book and start reading the first page, you can be transported anywhere,” Beard added.
All book festival events will take place on Tulane’s uptown campus, including the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse, the Malkin Sacks Commons, the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, McAlister Auditorium, the Navy ROTC Building, the Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex and the Berger Family Lawn.