Over the course of its 23-year existence, the Double Decker Festival has featured a variety of styles in its promotional posters. Seen all over town on bulletins and buildings in the months, weeks and days leading up to the festival, past posters have included both modern and traditional takes on the iconic double-decker bus.
This year, eight local artists submitted poster designs, and a seven-person jury selected artist Sarah Kathryn Dossett’s creation to use as the festival’s official artwork, according to Double Decker coordinator Lee Ann Stubbs. Dossett’s design was chosen for its unique, whimsical approach to the classic image.
“They look to see what’s different from years past,” Stubbs said. “It has to be eye-catching, and hers was. The official artwork for the festival is so important because it’s what represents us. Because Double Decker has grown so much and we have vendors from other parts of the state, and even out of state, it needs to be representative of Oxford.”
Dossett’s design includes the shape of the classic double-decker bus with a twist. Within the shape of the bus, Dossett painted notable buildings and landmarks around the Square, such as the red telephone booth and the top of the courthouse.
In addition, she embraced the celebrations of the festival itself by incorporating elements such as a paint palette to represent art and piano keys to represent music. She even has a depiction of William Faulkner, Oxford’s claim-to-fame in literature, driving the bus.
Creativity has been a large part of Dossett’s life. A Ridgeland native, Dossett received a BFA in printmaking at the University of Mississippi in 2003.
As an artist, Dossett is not stuck to any one medium. She experiments with mixed media, pen and ink, watercolor and pastels. Her process changes between projects.
“The joy comes from not keeping myself on one particular shelf, but instead tying all possible outlets for my ideas,” Dossett said. “There are times when I wake in the morning and need to create something that I have had on my mind for a few days. Other times, I work on a piece for weeks before there is a breakthrough.”
After college, Dossett stayed in Oxford and eventually opened Studio Whimzy in 2010, an art studio off of College Hill Road that hosts creative events here in Oxford. The studio offers acrylic painting and ceramics workshops for adults, an after-school art program, camps and birthday parties for kids.
Studio Whimzy hosted a Double Decker preview party on April 23 in order for customers to browse new, original works of art by Dossett.
As an reward for her artwork, Dossett will receive booth 72 out of over 200 for free at the festival this year to sell and promote Studio Whimzy artwork.
“I love Oxford. I am blessed to be able to teach and create art in an environment that values both,” Dossett said. “I can feel the support of the community daily and hope that my work adds just a bit to this eclectic place that I call home.”
Her official Double Decker design will be printed on posters and artwork, both of which can be purchased on the Double Decker website or at the festival itself April 27 and 28.