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Fair Fun Includes Fine Arts

Farm animals and fun rides may be what most people look for at the Ohio State Fair, but for those searching for an alternative there are two buildings on the fairgrounds filled with fine arts.

The Cox Fine Arts Center stands right inside the 11th Avenue Gate. A gallery holds over 200 works of art by professionals and amateurs. Director of the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, Pamela O'Loughlin.

"It is a port in the storm is what I would call it, between your corn dog and your horse show we're like right in the middle and I think a lot of people were trying to do a lot of things to help promote that we are here," explains O'Loughlin.

The art work is a mix of detailed traditional paintings and abstract sculptures. Prices range from $200 up to $100,000. One of the pencil drawings reflects the violence on city streets and is called KKK, Kin killing Kin. The picture shows two teenagers pointing guns at each other. You can see the bullets already released from the weapons.

"That is an award winner and he does have an artist's statement beside it. So a lot of times you don't have to guess about what the artist is trying to think or feel or whatever it's kind of right there," added O'Loughlin.

A sculpture on one wall displays an assortment of red gasoline cans in different shapes and sizes.

"The Josh Foy piece out there with the gas cans which is very much about our summer also is you know with the oil spills and gas prices, artists are trying to say something and get people talking about things, if nothing else," said O'Loughlin.

This year for the first time visitors can also see 8 short films that were judged and will be shown twice a day at the Cox building.

"Our best of show is Matt Mindel, Inside, Outside, One. And it's very interesting, it's a lot of still shots, and a lot of sounds, different sounds, it's real kind of abstract," O'Loughlin added.

One of the goals of the art exhibit is to attract more young people and many of them jumped on board by submitting artwork for a display at the Disalle Center close to the 17th Avenue entrance. Students from kindergarten through high school painted portraits and designed their own original art pieces to fulfill the requirements under 21 different classes. Director of Creative Arts Competitions, Delilah Hetterscheidt.

"There are some phenomenal pieces here even for the very young kids what they do. It blows me away on the talent that is displayed here," exclaimed Hetterscheidt.

Students submitted over 450 entries. Some young artists painted well known faces, like singers Michael Jackson, and Mariah Carey. Hetterscheidt has her favorite. "There's a beautiful wolf oil painting over here and the wolf is looking around the corner of a tree. And to me the shading, the light on that is just gorgeous," explained Hetterscheidt.

She adds that this year is the first one requiring frames on the artwork.

"It's finished and it really shows also just their love and their commitment to completely, it's a whole package," Hetterscheidt said.

Other children are learning how to fine tune their art skills by working with local artists. They'll get to show off their new skills during the fair thanks to a grant from The Greater Columbus Arts Council.