Sherry Harig, this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival Art Poster contest winner, has her plane ticket in hand and is eagerly anticipating her upcoming trip to Gilroy.
“I have family in Gilroy, Roseville, Sonora and Merced, and we’re all going to get together,” Harig says about her upcoming trip from Arizona, where she currently resides.
Harig, who’s never entered the Festival’s poster contest before, says the idea to enter came from her sister, Gilroy resident Susan Patereau.
Harig lives on a small ranch about 20 miles outside of Huachuca City, Arizona, and has longstanding ties to the region. She attended Los Banos High School, where she met her sweetheart, Richard Harig. This October the couple will celebrate their 50th anniversary.
The inspiration for the poster came from Harig’s childhood memories of living in Los Banos and the surrounding area. She wanted to convey the image of the fields and farmers working in Gilroy, filling gunnysacks with garlic.
“I wanted to go back to the farming—the growing of it—to show what came from the field,” Harig says.
According to Marsha Struzik, retail chair of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Harig’s idea came through.
“Our judges all really loved the simplicity of [Harig’s poster], it’s really just about the garlic.”
The winning poster utilizes a combination of acrylic paint and colored pencil against a textured burlap background, over which Harig used drywall plaster, and glue, to create a base. She then added essential details, garlic bulbs, and a tag displaying the dates of this year’s festival.
“I’m an artist who loves art, and I have a special connection to the Central Valley and California.” Harig says.
Harig is now retired and spends her time on personal art projects, working out of a mobile shed her husband bought her to use as an art studio. Harig calls it her, “she shed.”
Before retiring, Harig spent more than 30 years teaching art to children—something she never intended to do, but found she had a passion for.
Harig says, “I love working with children and I love doing art, put those two together and I’m a happy camper.”