GREENVILLE — The back of a volunteer’s shirt read, Keep Cool and Carry On, only fitting before the Fine Arts awards ceremony and open reception got underway at the fairgrounds on Wednesday. It was hot and humid, the sun still bright in the sky as Amanda Mote, along with her team, gave the Fine Arts building a few finishing touches. Whether it was draping tables, prepping refreshments, or adjusting ribbons on the artwork, it was near to showtime.
“We wanted to give it a really personal touch,” said Mote, explaining that the evening reception was by invite only so the exhibits were “all fresh” and the exhibitors “the first ones to know” who won.
This year marks the first Fine Arts show for Mote who was named the director last winter. She came to the position with fresh ideas that included a new division for differently-abled youth and adults.
Only two weeks ago the differently-abled artists had gathered for a second time at Memorial Hall to work on their projects for the 163rd Great Darke County Fair Fine Arts competition. Now the big day had arrived for not only the artists but the department team and their guests.
When everything was ready, the doors to the Fine Arts building were swung wide, and guests began to mill inside. They were greeted with musical entertainment and refreshments while taking in the artwork and socializing amongst other artists and their families.
According to Fair Board Director and Fine Arts Superintendent Ed Erisman, Mote’s team had put in tremendous work. They not only gave the building a fresh coat of white paint, the center displays painted black, but power washed the floors. There were black drapes, lighting, and other various special touches added to create a new atmosphere.
“I’m proud of everything she’s done,” continued Erisman who was joined by his wife, Amy. Not only is this the first year for Mote as Fine Arts Director but also Erisman as the division’s superintendent.
The guest judges were Piqua Arts Council Executive Director Jordan Knepper and former Greenville native Ty Schwartz. On Saturday, the Plein Air competition, to be held from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., will be judged by Jordan’s father, Dan Knepper.
Anyone attending the Great Darke County Fair this year will also have an opportunity to be a judge. Everyone is invited to stop by the Fine Arts building to vote for their favorite artwork as part of the People’s Choice Award. The winner will be announced on Saturday morning.
“It’s a big change,” said Mote of this year’s Fine Arts program, emphasizing a desire to “keep everything positive, encouraging, and light.” She then took to the front of the building to announce the Best of Show for Photography, Best of Show for Fine Arts, the Darke County Pride Award, and the Superintendent’s Award.
The Fine Arts Department will host daily exhibitions throughout fair week. Exhibitions included a jewelry-making demo at 1 p.m. today, a ceramic hand-building demo at 7 p.m. Wednesday, pre-registered programs on Thursday, an oil paint demo at 6 p.m. Friday, and mixed-media activities starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Stop by the Fine Arts building to vote for your favorite artwork and for a complete listing of activities, dates and times.
Keep watch for a full list of winners in a future Daily Advocate/Early Bird special Fair edition.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.