The Natchitoches Arts Council revealed this year’s Christmas Festival Poster on Nov. 5 at Dickens & Company. The poster is titled “Sacred Crossroads” is a reprint of the 1986 poster by Stafford Harvill. The poster has been sold out for years. When the Arts Council tried to track down the artist, they found he had passed away.
After a bit of research they got in touch with his family who came to Natchitoches from as far away as Alaska, Indiana, Alabama, and Bossier City to attend Tuesday night’s event.
“He’d be tickled, pleased and honored and we feel privileged to be here said one of Stafford’s daughters. Nell Lamendola, Janet Bals, Gwen Tyler and Terri Miller posed for a photo with their father’s poster, which some said gave them chill bumps with its beauty and intricate details.
Stafford led a unique and eclectic life. He graduated from Northwestern State University in 1952 with a B.A. in Business. He taught for a brief time in Tennessee before joining the Air Force in March of 1953. During his 4 years of service, he worked as an assistant to a general in Paris, France. He married the love of his life, Jacquelyn “Jackie” Roark, who he met at NSU in April, 1955. After leaving the Air Force in 1957, he went on to work in several different fields – court reporter, executive assistant at Atlas Processing Plant and the Ford Battery Plant and as a job placement counselor. During the early 1970’s, he returned to Northwestern to pursue a master’s degree in Fine Arts. This was the beginning of his journey in following his passion to create art. After he completed his masters, he worked on his art and taught at Southern University in Shreveport/Bossier in the Business and Art Departments during the 70’s and 80’s. Throughout the years, he also taught private art lessons to groups and individuals. He left teaching in the 80’s to work full-time on his art. During this time, he also co-owned a mat and framing business called “The Mat Factor”. While he worked in many different mediums, he found a passion in working with egg tempera. Throughout the years, he had art shows in cities across the United States including San Francisco and Washington, D.C. In 1989, he had an art show in Shreveport that featured a collection of paintings of many different landmarks and scenes within the city of Shreveport
Stafford had a larger-than-life personality and a great sense of humor. He was a gifted artist, story-teller, and a phenomenal cook. He had the tenacity and determination to accomplish any task he decided to tackle. He led a full and fascinating life – touching the lives of many and leaving behind a legacy of art that will be treasured for years to come.