Carroll County cows captured on canvas

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CARROLLTON, Ohio – There are some Holsteins, an Angus, a Shorthorn and, yes, even the cow that jumped over the moon.
These are just some of the cattle depicted in the first-ever Cow-a-palooza art show at the Carroll County Commission for the Advancement of the Arts.
Something for all. Wayne Chunat, art center director, hopes Cow-a-palooza will attract people from all backgrounds and lifestyles.
“The center’s mission, of course, is to involve the community in the arts,” Chunat said, and this particular event is meant to bring in those who farm or have an interest in agriculture.
The artists participating in Cow-a-palooza are members and nonmembers of the art center.
“It’s open to whoever is interested and whoever has talent,” Chunat said.
Most of the artwork was done by adults and Chunat said the show will have approximately 20-25 pieces.
“People are familiar with these items and we’re hoping to draw them in that way,” he said. “There has to be some common denominator to bring people in.”
Familiar. Since animals and the environment are universal subjects, Cow-a-palooza seemed like the perfect way to attract a crowd, according to Chunat.
“It’s a little bit different,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll find many art centers that do this.”
The art center has its own ties to agriculture. The building that houses the center was formerly the Rutan-McCully mill.
In the 1890s and early 1900s, the feed mill purchased grain and produce from area farmers and shipped it to several markets, making it a cornerstone for commerce at that time.
In the 1920s, the mill became part of a filling station and garage and in the mid-1990s, Carroll Rail took ownership of the building.
The Carroll County Commission for the Advancement of the Arts entered the building five years ago. Restoration and renovation of the building cost $125,000, all of which was raised through private funding and donations.
Become aware. Chunat said the single most important goal of the commission is to raise art awareness in the community. One way this is accomplished is through art shows such as Cow-a-palooza.
While cows are the main focus of the art show, it also includes paintings of other common farm scenes, such as snow-covered fields and barns bearing the Mail Pouch tobacco slogan.
The paintings are acrylic, oil, guach, egg tempera, and one entry is a collage made from paper.
“It’s anything from realistic to abstract,” Chunat said, adding that Cow-a-palooza was designed simply to be a fun event.
Cow-a-palooza visitors will have a chance to vote on their favorite entry at the show. A people’s choice award – or more appropriately, a grand champion award – will go to the artist whose work gets the most votes. This award and others will be distributed at a reception set for 1-4 p.m. Feb. 19.
Future plans. Chunat said the center hopes to have other agriculture-related events in the future.
The art center, which is mostly a volunteer organization, raises all of its own funds for its operating budget of $30,0000 per year.
Cow-a-palooza is sponsored by Carrollton Farmers Exchange, Carrollton Livestock Auction, veterinarian John Walters, Long Farms and Equipment, and George Livestock Hauling.
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