SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois State Fairgrounds is filled with flowers – some plots created by University of Illinois extension Master Gardeners – and there is a Farmers’ Little Helper Area for children to enjoy.
Farmers’ Little Helpers, as the name implies, supports young children and their families in learning more about farmers and agriculture.
The gardens and flowers on display along with sculptures such as the metal cow outside the Dairy Building, offer art outside during the Illinois State Fair. The butter cow, as always, offers sculpted beauty inside the Dairy Building, but it is the Artisan Building that provides a setting for most local artists to share their work for sale and competition.
Cynthia Hellyer Heinz of Warrensville, in Drawing & Graphics, won the Governor’s Award in the Illinois State Fair Professional Art Exhibit with her picture titled, "The Anticipation." Visitors were able to see Hellyer as well as winners of other media while perusing the exhibits.
Artist Barb Roth of Springfield was at the Artisan Building working on a picture; she creates art from torn paper. She was not the only artist actively at work, though – Linda Post Lucas, also of Springfield, is a former art teacher who has taught at both the school level and for associations such as the Springfield Art Assoc. and Prairie Art Alliance.
Her artwork includes several different media. "I do pictures in 3-D collages using fused glass and acrylic paint," she explained, adding one collage was on its way to South America to be in the lobby of a hotel.
Lucas also had jewelry and paintings on display. She said, "There is a lot of pressure on artists to stay within one medium, but I like to experiment. I also do ceramics and fused glass."
The Illinois State Fairgrounds includes old buildings that provide architectural delight in their own right for visitors, as well. Many are used year-round and some are additionally rented out for special events.