COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio State Fair has a new attraction in the making.
At the Ohio Expo Center and Fairgrounds, “barn artist” Scott Hagan is painting murals of two Ohio heroes, and guests of the Ohio State Fair have the chance to watch him in action.
In the Cox Fine Arts Center, Hagan is currently assembling larger-than-life portraits of President Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Charles Young. The figures are both marking major milestones this year: Grant was born 200 years ago in Point Pleasant, and Young died 100 years ago this year.
Grant is one of eight Ohioans who have served as U.S. president, and he commanded the Union Army to victory in the Civil War. Young was a soldier, diplomat, and civil rights leader. He received a posthumous promotion to brigadier general earlier this year, the first Black American recognized with that rank.
Hagan began painting the murals on July 29 and will be in the center putting on the finish touches from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. He’s expected to finish both pieces this week.
In celebration of Ohio’s bicentennial in 2003, Hagan was chosen in 1998 to paint Ohio’s logo on barns across the state. He painted 89 barns over five years.
The Cox Fine Arts Center houses more than 320 works by 205 Ohio artists from 27 counties and is home to one of the largest state fair fine arts exhibitions. The center welcomes more than 40,000 fair-goers to see sculptures, paintings, photographs, and mixed-media works of art every year.
This year’s exhibit focuses on technology in the arts, with tech-based and interactive pieces of art. Awarded Best of Show within the exhibit is “Time Machine: Version 2” by Gabe Kenney. This parody-like sculpture features a hodgepodge of old materials mimicking a time machine.
Another eye-catching piece is “Hey Mom, (and Hey Dad), Send Me a Selfie for My New Phone.” The two watercolor paintings, by Jennifer Sowders, are enormous close-ups of her parents trying to take a selfie.
View these pieces, the murals, and more works of art at the Cox Fine Arts Center, open every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ohio State Fair.