Young artist wins contest to design 2010 Royal Winter Fair poster

by Kaitlynn Ford

Nov 18, 2009.

At the age of 16, Courtlandt Swarts joins the ranks of professional artists who have designed the winning poster for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, such as Peter Snyder, Jan-Marie Louis, and Group of Seven member James E. H. MacDonald.

On Friday, Swarts was announced the winner of the 2010 Royal Winter Fair poster design.

“Exciting work – much more from him, much more from him to come,” said Nola McConnan, the current year’s poster artist. McConnan has been involved in the Royal Winter Fair since 1956, and has designed three posters for the fair.

Since the fair started in 1922, it has held the Fine Art Showcase, whose entrants produce the annual poster. To be an eligible candidate, the applicant is required to have submitted a piece for the Fine Art Showcase in the previous year. The top 10 artworks are rewarded with an automatic invitation to submit poster images.

“The piece he submitted last year … was called ‘Papa Milking the Cow’. He completed it when he was 13,” said McConnan, of the piece that placed eighth in last year’s competition, and won Swarts the opportunity to compete this year.

The poster proposals must meet a predetermined list of criterion, unlike the Fine Art Showcase artwork submissions, which are only asked to use the list as a guide. The two main must-haves are; the poster should be agricultural in nature, and there should be at least one horse, cow, fish, goat, sheep, guinea pig, rabbit, and vegetable.

“Agriculture feeds the body; but art feeds the soul. And this show is designed to do both, because of the venue, because of the people,” said McConnan.

The jury panel this year consisted of three people; two professional visual artists, and a member of the Royal Winter Fair. A helpful aspect to the artists of this judging is the feedback they receive. The judges are required to fill out a rubric and score sheet, and return the comments to the artist.

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