Each year the San Diego County Fair signals the beginning of summer for thousands of San Diegans. Prior to the opening of the celebrated annual event, hundreds of artists throughout the county anticipate the fair’s Fine Art Exhibition.
Housed in an immense space on the first floor of the East Grandstand, the Fine Art Exhibition includes hundreds of 2- and 3-dimensional artworks by some of the most outstanding artists of San Diego County and beyond.
Exhibition Coordinator Kate FitzSimons and assistant coordinators Shea Brandt and Kathy Thompson — collectively known as the “Fine Art Divas” — work with a devoted team of volunteers to produce one of our area’s largest annual art events.
Roberta Dyer of the San Diego Watercolor Society says, “The Fine Arts Exhibit at the San Diego County Fair is an enormous undertaking, and one that is masterfully handled by FitzSimons and her crew. From the initial online entry information to the picking up of paintings at the end of the Fair, the Fine Art Divas make the experience smooth and pleasant.”
Open to artists 18 years and older, the highly competitive juried exhibition features original paintings, drawings, mixed media, sculptures, ceramics, glass and more, generally available for purchase from the artists at the conclusion of the exhibition.
Carlsbad artist Darlene Katz, whose painting “Forever Behind Glass,” was awarded first place in the Oil Representational Still Life category, says, “The Fine Arts Exhibition is something that I look forward to every year for all sorts of reasons. The competition is stiff! I am always pleasantly surprised when my paintings are accepted to the fair, and over the moon when they win ribbons. The quality of art seems to get better every year, along with the prestige of the judges who are chosen to jury the show.”
This year’s exhibition was juried by a panel of 10 judges from the Laguna Festival of the Arts, who made their selections from the hundreds of digital entries. The jurors then reviewed the accepted artwork on-site to ensure that it met the exhibition’s rigorous standards.
From the accepted entries, the judges then selected a total of 90 awards in 30 categories, based on criteria of visual impact, composition, technical quality, creativity and presentation.
Katz adds, “One of the best parts of entering this show is the number of visitors exposed to fine art. This is the first time many fair goers and their children can see such a large quantity of artists and different types of media in the same place — it’s an easy and fun way for the public to appreciate the incredibly talented artists we have in our area.”
According to FitzSimons, “It’s the inclusive community character that keeps me engaged in the exhibition year after year. It brings together art organizations that normally operate independently of each other. Each year they all come together to participate in the art exhibition at the fair.”
The exhibition partners with artist organizations throughout the county to offer daily demonstrations of various art techniques during which fairgoers are able to interact with artists and observe the creative process.
Roberta Dyer, who has enjoyed leading live demonstrations for the last two years, shares her experience: “With the huge display of art inside, it is a nice bonus for guests to be able to see some of the artists at work creating what can be seen hanging on the walls inside.”
Once again the Fine Art Divas have produced an outstanding exhibition. With the fair closing July 5, it is well worth a trip to the fairgrounds to see the show.
The Fine Art Exhibition, which is included in the price of admission to the fair, is available for viewing through July 5.
Visit sdfair.com for more information.