GREENSBURG — As the Decatur County 4-H Fair approaches, preparations are underway for the annual Decatur County Art’s Connection’s Art Show in the Farm and Home Building.

Their third year sponsoring the long-lived show, first sponsored by Tri-Kappa before they decided to give it up, prominent artist and event coordinator Margaret Parker is hopeful that local artists will be interested in competing.

Costing only $1.50 per entry, entrants are asked to bring their pieces to the Farm and Home Building from noon to 2 p.m. July 11, with judging for the event taking place directly at 2 p.m. that day. Winners will have the option of showing their works at Art on the Square Gallery for free for the month of July. This is for 2-D work only and art must be mounted on card, matted, or framed, ready for hanging. Artwork will be released on July 17 from 6-8 p.m. Participants may then bring their pieces to the Gallery later in the week for exhibition through July.

As is the custom, all works will be judged by an artist from outside the county, and all pieces should be picked up from the Farm and Home Building before fair closing on Wednesday. Anything left at the fair after that time will be moved to Art on the Square Gallery, and discarded if not picked up from the gallery after the Fair Show for July. Categories judged will be pre-school, Kindergarten through Grade 3, Grade 3 through 5, Grades 6 though 8, High School, Adult and Professional.

Margaret Parker, with many years experience creating, teaching and appraising art explained what she considers true benchmarks of talent.

“Everybody is going be somewhere on the spectrum from ‘naivete’ to ‘expert,’” Parker explained. “I look for the age of the artist, and if they’ve had any formal training” she said. “Usually if they put their works in ‘Adult,’ that might mean they have no formal training.

“I look for the use of materials, how well they filled the space and used what they had. So if it’s a tiny picture, they need to fill the space well, and if it’s a large space, I look for big interesting shapes and if they’ve used colors that harmonize well,” Parker said. “If I see someone who has copied a cartoon from a newspaper, I’m not real impressed. I look for originality, and then originality for an adult is different than for a child, too. For a child, a simple house drawn in a box with a triangle might be original for them. It’s all relative.”

“I look also for expression, if there’s an emotional component to it, [and] did the artists have something emotional to share and how well they did that,” Parker added.

Parker said that she doesn’t have a specific checklist by which to rate art.

“Again, it’s all relative,” Parker said.

When asked if she had seen pieces of art created that had that special “spark,” Parker said, “Last year, we had an elementary age artist whose work was outstanding.”

“And some people practice. They’ll do a study of a particularly difficult part of their idea before it goes to their final canvas, and that shows,” Parker explained. “You can see in some of the works where they [had] gone back and erased - practice is just a good idea.”

Art on the Square Art Gallery is also a busy place during the summer, filled with opportunities to see and create art for all talent and inspiration levels.

A children’s art camp will be held at the Gallery on Tuesday, July 16 through July 19 for children 3rd grade to 6th grade. Times are 9 a.m. to noon each day. The cost is $40 per student for the camp. A variety of 2-D and 3-D projects will be offered, including weaving, drawing, painting, origami and pop-up card construction.

Another summer event for artists of all ages and abilities is the annual “Paint the Town,” paint out on Friday, Aug. 2 with registration on the Courthouse lawn at the big tent starting at 8 a.m. This is a rain or shine event with the Gallery open all day. Artwork from the event will be for sale and on display at the Gallery during the month of August. Pre-registration is encouraged and can be made through the Facebook page: “Art on the Square Gallery.”

Registration for all events and classes is available at the Gallery 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. For further information or registration, please call Margaret Parker at 812-614-7146 or the Gallery at 812-663-8600. Registration is also available at the website artonthesquaregallery.com

Art on the Square Gallery and Decatur County Arts Connection is a non-profit 501(3)c organization promoting arts creation and its enjoyment in the community. Supporting memberships are available at the Gallery 114 E. Washington, Greensburg.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext. 7011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com