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Country Fairs Three Ways

CalvART Country Fairs show gets you ready for county fairs

At world fairs, you could see it all. At state fairs, you could see most everything under the sun. At county fairs, you could see quite a bit.
    Still can.
    The Maryland State Fair has just ended, ushering in the county fair season: Anne Arundel’s County Fair runs September 14 thru 18, followed by Calvert County’s Fair September 28 thru October 2.
    To get psyched for both fairs, all this month you can see country fairs reflected in art at CalvART Gallery’s Country Fair show, running thru October 2, and meet the artists to talk about their images September 10.
    Fairs are beloved of Beverly Jackson, a fiber artist and photographer who splits her time between St. Mary’s County and Washington, D.C.
    Jackson grew up with fairs: 4-H Club fairs, county fairs and the Illinois State Fair. “I even represented my county in a cooking competition with my Fabulous Brownies, complete with a demo on a stage in front of an audience, when I was about 14,” Jackson says.
    Artists are in the business of expression. Taking in the essence of what they love isn’t enough; they’ve got to bring it to life.
    Jackson’s done that in spades. To her own photographic odes to fairs, she’s convinced the couple dozen members of the CalvART collective to add their appreciations to the show Country Fairs. For the September show, painters, potters, wood workers, glass artists, jewelers and other photographers all show their takes on fairs.
    Jackson promises photos of “carnival/midway scenes, animal judging, 4-H Club food and clothing, tractor pulls and much more.” Plus, at September 10’s reception, her Fabulous Brownies.
    “It was a little difficult at first,” says Mimi Little, who calls herself a “little bit of an abstract painter.” But “the animal part of it,” always comes to mind, which led to a rooster, painted from a photo of a real rooster, combined with symbols — eggs, chicken, pens — to create a visual story of chickens at a fair.
    Watercolorist Mary Blumberg, on the other hand, found the objects of fairs — farmers in overalls or golden peaches in white bags — illuminated her abiding interest in light, which, she says, “hits an object, defining it and giving you color beyond what you expect.”
    Sights beyond what you expect are what fairs — and art based on them — are all about.
    
    See the art of Country Fairs thru Oct. 2, 11am-5pm W-Su. Meet the artists in a Sept. 10 reception (5-8pm) at CalvART Gallery, Prince Frederick: 410-535-9252; www.calvartgallery.org/.
    Visit the Anne Arundel County Fair Sept. 14 thru 18 (4-11pm W&F; 10am-11pm Th; 9am-11pm Sa; 9am-8pm Su) at the fairgrounds on Generals Hwy., Crownsville. $5 w/age discounts and special: www.aacountyfair.org.
    Visit the Calvert County Fair Sept. 28 thru Oct. 2 (4-9pm W; 9am-10pm Th-Sa; 10am-6pm Su) at the fairgrounds on Rt. 235, Barstow: 410-535-0026; www.calvertcountyfair.com.