Farm-scene painting chosen for art festival

Sunday, August 29, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:46 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

From Monet’s “Wheat Field” to Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” farming culture has long been an inspiration to artists. And this year it’s the inspiration behind the poster for the 13th-annual Columbia Festival of the Arts.

The poster, featuring a painting by Columbia artist Joel Sager, was unveiled Saturday evening at a festival fund-raising party at Quin and Helen Snyder’s house.

“I’m just very interested in farming,” Sager said, “just because it’s a way of life that’s declining so fast.”

The painting, titled “Farmscape I,” is a familiar scene from rural Missouri. An old barn and silo sit behind slanted rows of crops. Sager’s destructive painting technique gives the scene a dark, deteriorating look.

Sager said he got the idea for the painting during a trip north.

“My wife and I took a trip to Minnesota, and along the way we went through a lot of farmland,” he said. “That kind of inspired it.”

The painting was chosen for the festival’s poster from a field of 132 images submitted by 22 Missouri artists.

The weekend art festival kicks off at 10 a.m. Sept. 25 downtown. More than 40 musical, theatrical, literary and dance performances will be featured at the festival. Most of the exhibits and activities will be located near the Boone County Courthouse. A photography exhibition will be at First National Bank, and a Boone County art show will be at Boone County Bank. The banks are located on opposite corners of the intersection of Broadway and Eighth Street.

A new feature at this year’s festival will be the Monster Mural on Ash Street behind the courthouse. The 6-foot-tall, 20-foot-long mural will feature outlines of Columbia landmarks and scenes from past art festivals. Attendees will be invited to pick up a paintbrush and color the mural.

“It’ll look like a giant page out of a coloring book, basically,” festival organizer Kay S. Kjelland said.

Origami and string-game artist Brian Cox will perform at the festival for the first time this year. The Winnipeg, Canada, native will entertain the crowd at 3 p.m. Sept. 25 and 2 p.m. Sept. 26 at the children’s stage.

The Eulenspeigel Puppet Theatre from Illinois will also be making their first appearance at the festival. The puppet shows will be at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 25 and 1:15 p.m. Sept. 26.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact 874-6386 or e-mail

The commemorative poster can be purchased at the festival or at Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs, 13 N. Eighth St., and Deck the Walls in the Columbia Mall, 2300 Bernadette Drive.

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