State Fair Fine Arts Head Helps Public See Effort That Goes into Art

Hopkins artist and State Fair Fine Arts Superintendent Jim Clark views the annual show as a chance to teach fair-goers.

For Hopkins artist Jim Clark, producing a great work is as much about perspiration as inspiration. Artists must have the dedication to put in long hours, often accompanied by false starts, before they craft a moving work.

“Even the initiated may have the perception one waits for the muse or a lightning bolt to go off and—flash!—a pristine work emerges,” he said. “But quality art is most often the result of labor, reflection and research.”

Clark aims to introduce that aspect of art to those visiting the Minnesota State Fair. As the fair’s fine arts superintendent, he arranged for this year’s special exhibition to present a peek into the artist’s studio by having 12 different artists over the fair’s 12 days each spend 12 hours working on their art in front of the public.

The goal isn’t for the artists to offer demonstrations—which Clark says can give art a paint-by-numbers feel. It’s to show “the nuts and bolts and day-to-day grind of creating art.

“It’s a long day. It’s a marathon day,” he said. “But artists—just like a CPA come tax time—we put in the hours.”

Clark takes his work seriously, both as an artist and as the fine arts superintendent. His fair job isn’t just about making sure everything is displayed nicely; it’s an educational opportunity to teach fair visitors about fine arts, particularly in Minnesota.

“For a good portion of our fair guests, that may be their one exposure to fine arts for the entire year,” Clark said.

Putting it all together is no small task. This year’s exhibit features 345 works on all types of media from both professional and amateur artists.

But Clark, , is still thrilled to be sharing his love of art with other Minnesotans.

“I have the same excitement if not more,” he said.


Numerous submissions

The growing number of submissions to the Minnesota State Fair art show meant organizers had to implement a two-phase submission process for the first time this year.

In the past, all artists submitting works had to drop off their pieces at the fairgrounds. Most of those pieces never made it into the show.

This year, artists first submitted photos of their works digitally. Jurors then picked the finalists over a period of five days and asked those artists to bring their pieces to the fairgrounds for final judging. The process makes it easier on the judges and on artists who live far from fairgrounds.

Here’s a look at the numbers of submissions compared to last year’s show.

2011 2012 Artists who began the registration process 2,300 Phase I submissions 2,084 2,011 Works selected for phase II review -- 606 Works actually shown 354 345 Selection rate 17 percent 17 percent


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mary helmbrecht August 30, 2012 at 11:08 AM
How neat! Any idea where on the fairgrounds? Heading out Friday.


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