Monday, October 12, 2009

Wasted Words: War wins at the fair

(Above: Wasted Words: War. First Place in Open Media at the South Carolina State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition. Click on image to enlarge.)

As a professional artist, I have mixed up and totally conflicted emotions about entering the state fair. Many laugh, saying that state fairs aren't the "right" sort of venue for quality work. I've been advised not to include any mention of a state fair prize on my resume. Embarrassingly, I admit to heeding this advice; but, I LOVE STATE FAIRS!

My creative journey started at the Ohio State Fair years ago....while browsing through the aisles in the arts and crafts building....innocently saying, "Oh, I could do that....and I could stitch this"....and my husband Steve wisely commenting, "Put your money where your mouth is!" The Ohio State Fair was the first event into which I ever submitted anything. It was important. It was thrilling. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of needle and thread.

Once we moved to South Carolina, I attended the fair here...and entered cross stitch and needlepoint...and won awards...and finally got up the courage to try "fine art" as an "amateur"...and then, about eight years ago...I entered as a "professional". I've won several awards since then, including another first place in my division. Truly, state fairs are significant to my development as a working artist.

Last night Steve and I went to the opening reception. Wasted Words: War won first place in my media. This really is a BIG DEAL....and comes with a $500 check! In fact, the South Carolina State Fair is the largest art event in the entire state and has a prize fund of $29,750. Best of Show (Professional) is $6,500. Best of Show (Amateur) is $2,250....which is more than many regional exhibits have for a total prize package. The complete list of winners is HERE! The juror was from out-of-state....other thing that many other juried events don't have! (Her name is Lynne Kroll; her website is HERE!)

It was a great evening. I am very, very happy to be a winner. I'm not going to put it on my resume and I feel guilty about this. do others feel about State Fairs?


Unknown said...

Congratulations Susan!!!

jafabrit said...

I decided a long time ago not to worry about or cater to art/craft elitism and do what I please. I can't say it has hurt me professionally (except maybe with snobs and they don't count with me anyway) and in fact freed me to create work I am proud of.
I have seen some of the finest examples of craftsmanship at English county fairs, and in the state fairs in the usa. The quality of your work speaks for itself, the resume is just an added bit of info.

Dawn said...

Congratulations! You have such a rich store of the most amazing ideas! You always manage to surprise me. :)

As far as claiming the awards on your resume. I suppose it depends on what you're submitting your resume for. After a few years of wins, you can pick and choose what to wow them with. If you're seeking entry into another state fair, by all means include it! If you are seeking admittance in the Crazy Quilt Society, maybe not. :)


Anonymous said...

art saves lives and art touches lives........everywhere. no rules, no right, no wrong.....share art everywhere with everyone.

Annica said...

Congratulations Susan!

Chris said...

Interesting. I saw some really standard needlework at my local county fair this year. My husband would point something out and say, "That's nice." and I would remind him that it was obviously made from a kit. Anyone who could follow directions could do it. It never even occured to me to enter my own work! I don't know if you should mention it on a resume or not, bur definitely take the prize money! I also think you are opening up the eyes of people who would otherwise never see this kind of work.

jafabrit said...

chris, I used to live in Clinton and LOVED coming down to Frenchtown to visit my pal and visit the art galleries. Frenchtown is a very sweet place. Just wanted to say hi and let you know.

I would agree about a lot of the work in fairs are from kits. However I see a lot of that even with the EGA members in our area. So it is especially refreshing to see original work at a fair or otherwise :)

Teresa W said...

Congratulations. Over 14 years ago I saw a piece of art at the State Fair in Columbia that had already sold, and I would still love to have that piece. I think about it every year.

Wendy said...

Maybe you should start a new trend, tell the world how much you appreciate the oportunities fairs offer and others will follow. I suppose it all depends on which catagory the work was entered in to. A bonus of the fair is that people who wouldn't ordinarily see such unique work, will, and may be inspired to stetch themselves into more adventurous stuff.
Whatever you chose to do, it is a great piece of work :)

Linda of the Lake said...

Your love affair with state fairs started when you were a baby. We went to them every year and, when working on the PhD, we lived near enough to watch the Goodyear blimp (and small planes pulling advertising flags) from the back porch steps. We never rode the rides but always walked the exhibit halls. I always thing of state fairs when I snell lavender.