GREENVILLE — The Darke County Fair Board voted to accept the resignation of Fine Arts director Nancy Foureman at its monthly meeting Wednesday night.
As previously reported by The Daily Advocate, controversy erupted during fair week when two local women who had submitted art for the fair’s Fine Arts competition had their works removed. Mikayla Setser, of Greenville, and Amanda Mote, of Union City, both contended that their artworks had been removed from display without cause.
Setser’s submission was a color photograph of a friend’s baby, which was taken down after being awarded a first-place ribbon. Mote’s artwork, consisting of drawings which feature subtle nudity, was removed from display before judging took place.
According to Setser, Foureman told her the photo had been removed because it was believed to constitute “child pornography,” while Mote said she was told that her drawings had been removed because they might cause “sinful thinking,” and could be offensive to German Baptists. She was also told the decision to remove her work was approved unanimously by the five-person committee that oversees the department.
Foureman told The Daily Advocate Thursday that the decision to remove the Setser photo “had absolutely nothing to do with censorship of artwork.” (See Statement from Nancy Foureman accompanying this story.) She declined to comment regarding the Mote artwork.
“Art shows have things rejected all the time,” Foureman said. “An art director doesn’t need to give a reason why. But I’m a painter myself, so I know the hours of hard work that go into making art. I’m sympathetic to that.”
Fair Board president Dean Neff presented the board with a resignation letter tendered by Foureman near the end of Wednesday’s meeting. An initial motion to table acceptance of Foureman’s resignation until next month’s meeting failed, at which point board member Thomas Shaw made a motion to accept the resignation. The motion passed by a margin of 8 to 3.
In other news, OSU Darke County Extension educator Rhonda Williams raised concerns about the “Calf Scramble” event at this year’s fair, saying she had seen videos taken during the event posted on Facebook. Williams said some of these videos showed children handling animals inappropriately, including pulling chickens around by the wing and chasing pigs covered in manure.
“If the wrong people see that, it’ll be a PR disaster,” Williams told the board. “I know we think it’s all fun and games, but in this day and age, it’s not.”
Greenville Area Dog Club president Barbara Rhoades presented the fair board with a proposal to rent the planned new dog barn for their weekly obedience training classes, at a proposed rate of approximately $650 a month.
“We would be very long-term tenants,” Rhoades told the board. “Because once we move, we’re not moving again.”
Fair manager Brian Rismiller told Rhoades that the dog barn is not expected to be completed for another six months, and suggested that, in the meantime, the club might be interested in renting the upper level of the Coliseum. Rhoades said she would take the proposal to her club’s own board of directors and return to discuss the issue further at a later meeting.
Finally, a contract for an Extreme Midget Wrestling event was accepted by the board. The event is expected to take place March 23.