Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context…
Anne and I are at that age when we’re more interested in visiting the exhibit halls than we are in rattling our bones on the Midway rides. We enjoy seeing what new works of paint, photography, building blocks, and science have been offered up for the various competitions. The State Fair holds its massive celebrations on behalf of our farmers, but Indiana has no shortage of artists, either. They come from all demographics, work in multiple media, bring ideas from pop culture as well as from their own home life, and all contribute in their own ways to the Hoosier State hometown legacy.
In this case the largest artwork on the fairgrounds was an entire truck turned into a stationary mural. It was supposed to draw attention to an entire exhibit of tricked-out vehicles called the Mural Derby, but all the other participants were parked away from the main thoroughfare and out of sight behind the giant Ferris wheel, where we had no idea they existed till I looked it up just now, days after the fact. But at least we witnessed the one truck, which was nifty.
Lego is a frequent sight at our State Fair. 4-H kids and competitors in other art contests routinely turn in works of Lego as their favorite sculpting medium. There’s nothing emphatically Hoosier about them. To my knowledge we have no Lego factory and no Legoland theme park. Indiana was not a beachhead for Danish explorers. The Lego Indiana Jones sets have nothing to do with Indiana per se, much as we might wish to contrive otherwise. But at our state fair there’s always room for Lego.
Several 4-H categories in non-humanities fields challenge their students to create posters exemplifying or explaining complex concepts to a layperson audience. A lot of them blend together, particularly whenever the rules for their divisions limit how creative their poster titles can get. Sorting through the hundreds of entrants, a few standouts can nab our attention.
Other arts varied across media, subject matter, and location. Most of these were in the 4-H Building, but the Indiana Arts Building also contained a selection of handcrafted wares amid the vendor booths that were curiously stuffed in there for the first time.
To be continued! Other chapters in this very special MCC miniseries: