Retro Charlotte

The man behind the Festival in the Park logo

mdavid@charlotteobserver.com

Festival in the Park logo, 2015
Festival in the Park logo, 2015

When artist Jack Pentes died earlier this year he left behind a playful legacy. His handiwork is evident in the annual Festival in the Park tree logo, public art uptown, and even in the NC mountains.

The Festival in the Park logo - a double-orbed tree with multi-colored leaves, paired with the festival's name scrawled in black - hasn't been altered since Charlotte artist Jack Pentes designed it for the first fest in 1964. Pentes graduated from Central High in the late '40s, started sign painting and went on to greater things, including the Festival in the Park logo.

More Pentes works:

- Nixon Brothers Steak House murals

- Esso building mural

- 'North Carolina National Bank barricade'

- backdrops in store windows

- one-man shows at the Public Library

- Conceived and built a cookie house displayed at Park Center in 1959. 'The house stood 15 feet high, complete with roof top, door, windows and window boxes, and a marshmallow cookie chimney. All were bedecked with 60 varieties of cookies in almost as many sizes, shapes and textures.' It was part of a 'well-known cookie company's products at a grocers' convention' in Charlotte.

- Conceived The Land of Oz theme park based on “The Wizard of Oz” which opened atop Beech Mountain in 1970. The park closed in 1980 but opens a few times a year. Sadly, vandalism is taking a toll.

Pentes was also a member of Carolina Clowns, and enjoyed taking part in the Carrousel Parades. In 1956 he was asked to appear as Bobo the Clown on WBTV's 'Big Bill's Clubhouse', a role he played for a year.

He and his wife, Ruth, owned Pentes Artworks Gallery off South Boulevard.

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