Manchester University
Oak Leaves

March 2, 2018

MU Artists Recognized in Wabash County Art Fair

Evan Harris

Artwork by Manchester’s faculty and students are prominently displayed at the Honeywell Center, as several pieces were selected for the 92 County Art Fair (often called the Wabash County Art Fair). They will remain up at the Honeywell Center’s Clark Gallery through the fair reception dinner on Mar. 12, 2018.

The fair originally had only nine participating counties, and rapidly grew over several years due an increasing popularity of the event throughout the state. Artists are allowed to enter any three forms of art, from drawings to paintings and other art forms. Photography was not accepted in this fair because there is a separate annual photography fair.

Out of over 200 entries from counties all over Indiana, only 48 were selected for display. And three of those selected were created by two faculty members and one student who placed relatively high. Art professor Ejenobo Oke placed 3rd overall in the “other art forms” category for her ceramic art.

“What I like about the fair is that professional artists, amateurs and student artists all compete on the same level, so it is a real challenge,” she said. “I also really like to participate in local and regional events. I enjoy being part of our art community.

“Because MU participates in the Honeywell art programs on a regular basis,” she continued, “we have a warm, strong relationship with those folks, and can participate in networking opportunities with students.”

Junior Marcus Zwiebel received honorable mention for his artwork of wax on tapestry titled “Past Help from an Incapable & Unknowing Audience,” submitted in the “other art form” category. “I live, work and attend school in Wabash County, and I am very community-oriented, and I wanted to represent the county and Manchester, while expanding my artistic skills and attempting to push myself to improve,” he said.

The reception, which will be held on Mar. 12, is a dinner combined with an awards ceremony which will highlight participants who placed in either 1st, 2nd, 3rd or honorable mention in the fair. “The reception is mostly informal,” Oke said. “There will be refreshments, a short speech by the Gallery Director, maybe some words from the jurors. Then, they will hand out the prizes (cash).

“I was very excited to place,” she continued. “I enter into the “other art forms” category each year and have placed five times: one blue ribbon, two reds, two whites, etc. I am always pleased when my work is accepted; there have been many times when it did not.”

Oke described the two pieces she entered into the fair. “‘Bloodlines’ is a quilted piece that I exhibited at Kent State, OH, last year, but it didn’t get in,” she said. “The piece that was accepted and won 3rd place is called ‘The Neighbors,’ a small set of five ceramic houses (shacks, really) that show faces peeping out. It is a small experiment on a larger piece I plan to do for my next solo exhibition.”

This was Zwiebel’s first time entering work in the fair since he moved to Indiana from Ohio.  “I have entered art shows in the past, and I was very excited to enter this particular fair in a new state,” he said. “However, I was nervous because everyone here knew one another, and also knew what to expect for this fair, and I really did not since I am new to this school.”

Oke was also a bit nervous when entering her work. “Because I use the molds I make from doll heads, I always fear someone may think I am creepy or weird,” she said. “I am,” she said jokingly, “but not for those reasons. But really, people do have a tendency to look at my work through a negative lens.”

As the fair quickly approaches, Oke’s outlook for next year’s fair is seen from a team perspective. “Participation in this show is an excellent way to be a part of the local and regional art community,” she said. “Each year, the competition gets stiffer, and the art department encourages students to try out for this show every year, so we usually get about 20 entries from MU annually. We do not always place. We do not always get in, but when we do, we celebrate! We are so proud of all our students who make an attempt at this highly competitive, professional show, that is what counts.”

As for Zwiebel, he plans to set the bar even higher for next year.“I plan on participating in the fair again next year because I was not fully prepared this year,” he said. “So I am patiently and adequately preparing for next year.”

Professor Jeff Diesburg received honorable mention for his painting “Equilibrium.” His painting “Perceived Boundary” will also be on display, as will student Lawrence Neumann’s “other art form,” “Peace.”