June 16, 2011

Art Hall active for 60th year

2011 Scotland County Fair is July 5th-10th

by Hannah Kiddoo

Away from the moos of the cattle barn, the shouts of the midway, and the roars of the racetrack lies one of the quieter, yet classic activities of the fair. On the south side of the fairground rests the Art Hall, a building often overlooked amid all the action during the fair.

In 1951, the fair board was worried that an Art Hall building would not even be completed. Prior to the construction of the hall, exhibits were simply displayed in a tent; following wide requests for a permanent building, the fair board committed $5,000 to the development of an art hall and anticipated an equal amount in donations. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and when the funds were not matched as expected the fair board initiated a search for last minute donations and volunteer help.

Due to the volunteer construction assistance of area farmers and last minute financial contributions of local businesses and residents, most of the building was completed in time for the fair. It became the 5th permanent structure at the fairground and has been active ever since.

Today, the Art Hall holds entries submitted by 4-H Club, FFA, Boy

Scouts and the general public. With categories such as photography, woodworking and scrapbooking, exhibitors can easily find an option that fits their talents. Most winners from the local fair qualify for display at the State Fair.

Entries are judged by experts in the individual category. In addition to blue, red and white ribbons, special awards are presented for select participants, Youth Program Assistant Pat Wiggins explained. The system of judging allows everyone to receive a ribbon and know why they were ranked at the level they were awarded. Once entries are judged, competitors meet with the judges to discuss where they excelled or where they could improve.

"These kids are learning how to do projects in areas as diverse as amphibians and reptiles to computers and they are exhibiting that," noted Wiggins.

She stressed that fair goers should stop by the exhibit hall to see the talent local youth hold. As visitors admire the talents of fellow citizens, they can also gaze at the architecture supporting the display and reflect on the community spirit that, despite the odds, allowed it to be completed.

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