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Do you want to express yourself, be creative, or make an impression? Visual Arts is for you! It may be messy, fun, strange, or unique. You will get to work with paint, chalk, metal, wood, food, scrapbooking, paper, computers and much, much more. Be yourself, explore visual arts! Choose the specific project you are interested in from the list below. 

Resources to help you learn

The following 4-H manuals provide general information on all visual arts projects and are available for ordering through 4-H Online. Manuals specific to one art medium are also available for ordering and are listed under the specific project area.

  • Getting Started in Art: Beginner Level: Learn to express emotions through art; create projects using line, form, and texture; and establish balance or rhythm in your art. Appropriate for any Art project listed below. 
  • Sketchbook Crossroads: Drawing, Fiber, and Sculpture Activity Guide: Advanced Level: Learn to use color and space in artwork to create balance, create calligraphy and cartoons, applique with felt, weave, experiment with dyes, and sculpt with clay and wire. Appropriate for the following projects: Chalk/Carbon/Pigment, Clay, Fiber, Heritage Arts, 3-Dimensional
  • Portfolio Pathways: Painting, Printing, and Graphic Design: Advanced Level: Explore techniques with acrylics, watercolors, and colored sand. Experiment with oil painting. Create dry point etching. Make a wood block stamp. Appropriate for the following projects: Chalk/Carbon/Pigment, Computer Generated Art, 
  • Exploring Fiber Arts. Appropriate for Fiber. 
  • Duct Tape Crafts. Available @ utah4H.org/discover. Appropriate for Fibe
  • Cake Decorating. Appropriate for Food Decorating.
  • Creating Stained Glass Projects Appropriate for Glass/Plastic
  • Paper Crafts. Available for download @ utah4H.org/discover. Appropriate for Paper
  • 4-H Scrapbooking. Appropriate for Scrapbooking

Chalk, Carbon, Pigment

Explore techniques using acrylics, oil, watercolors, pencil, or chalk. Create dry point etching or make a wood block stamp.

CLAY

Creativity is the key when working with clay. Watch an idea become reality before your eyes.

Computer Generated art

In this project, your computer is the medium you use to create art. Digital imagery can be a powerful storyteller tool. Computer generated art refers to any form of digital imagery or graphic art that is produced with the aid of a computer.

Fiber

Explore 11 different fiber arts as you learn to use natural materials and apply principles of design in a variety of finished products.  Explore the urban art using duct tape. Duct tape originated in the 1960s. It is a fibrous material, so items constructed using duct tape are exhibited in the fiber project. Exhibits in this project must be of original design for youth 10 and older. Members 10 and over wishing to exhibit non-original fiber art should enroll in Heritage Arts.

Food Decorating

Practice simple decorating techniques as you decorate cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. Learn to frost and decorate using simple flowers to a variety of borders and special effects. As you advance, learn to frost stacked or tiered cakes.

Glass & Plastic

Members learn steps in creating stained glass art using the copper foil method with soldering. 

Heritage arts

Heritage arts are traditional crafts learned from another person or from a pattern. Some examples include cross-stitch, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, macramé, basket making, candles, pysanki, leather, handmade dolls and costumes, quilting from a traditional pattern, and painting on wood, metal fiber, or candles.

Metal

Metal arts includes any original item made of metal such as sculpture, tin punch, engraved metal, and jewelry. Items intended for industrial use, such as tools and/or shop items, are not considered part of this Visual Arts project. Metal items that have been partially or totally created through the use of laser cutting programs/devices are considered part of the Computer-Generated Art project.

Nature

Nature provides the medium for art in this project. Learn to make original item made of natural material such as wreaths, cornhusk dolls, etc.

Paper

Members explore multiple design elements of paper art, including origami and card making. Paper art associated with creation of a scrapbook align with the Scrapbooking exhibit area. All other paper art align with the Paper exhibit area.

scrapbooking

Scrapbooking helps preserve happy memories of important days in our lives. Beginning members will learn to create a layout and use simple embellishments. As you get more advanced, learn to use die cuts, stamps, fiber, wire, buttons, to personalize your pages. Add journaling to capture memories in words and photos.

3-dimensional mixed media

Creating free-standing art allows your products to be seen from all sides. For this project, the art piece includes at least three different medium, with no one medium making up more than 40 percent of the item. Originality and design are important concepts.

Wood

Wood carving, sculptures, collages, and wood burning are a few of items included in the Wood Visual Arts project. The focus of this project is art. If you want to make utilitarian wood items from patterns or kits, such as outdoor, indoor furniture, or shelves, enroll in Woodworking instead of Visual Arts.

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit one entry in each class of the following classes: Paper, Fiber, Clay, Wood, Glass/Plastic, Metal, Nature, Computer-Generated Art, Three-Dimensional Design/Mixed Media, Heritage Arts, Scrapbooking, Food Decorating, and Fiber Non-Original Ages 8-10 ONLY. Each county may submit two entries in Chalk/Carbon/Pigment. Each county may also submit one entry in the Visual Arts Ready4Life Challenge Class.

Exhibitors are encouraged to date the project when it is made. Exhibitors must be able to carry or cart their exhibits across the fairgrounds from the parking lots.All visual arts exhibits are evaluated using a visual arts rubric which takes into account correct use of design elements; craftsmanship; and creativity.

Articles exhibited must be an original design created by the exhibitor (except in heritage arts which may follow a pattern AND Fiber-Non Original Ages 8-10 ONLY). Copyrighted or trademarked designs are not acceptable; this includes Team or School logos.Kits and preformed molds are not considered original and are not acceptable in any Visual Arts Class. Combining parts of different patterns (pictures, photographs, images from the internet or a magazine) with the member's own ideas can result in an original design, but simply changing the color, pattern and/or size of a pattern does NOT make the design original. This also applies for ideas found on a site such as Pinterest. If you see something on Pinterest that you like, use the concept and create something different using the concept; however if it MUST NOT look exactly like something the judge can search for and find on Pinterest. The exhibit must combine parts of different patterns and/or ideas with the concepts of the member, however changing the color or changing the size of the item or pattern used does NOT make it original.  If you create a replica of what you see somewhere else, it is not your original design.  If a photo, sketch, or other idea source was used, submit it with your entry, firmly attached to your exhibit. Be prepared to explain how and where you got the idea for this project.

Members wishing to exhibit quilts made from a pattern may enter it in Heritage Arts. Quilts exhibited in the Visual Arts – Heritage Arts area will be evaluated using a visual arts rubric which takes into account correct use of design elements; craftsmanship; and creativity. All work on the quilt MUST be completed by the 4-H member. You cannot exhibit a quilt that was quilted by someone else. Quilts can be hand OR machine quilted as long as ALL work is completed by the exhibitor.

Members should refer to the Visual Arts Exhibit Fact Sheet for assistance in identifying correct Visual Arts Class placement.

50332    Visual Arts Food Decorating Beginning 

Exhibit one of the following:

  • Exhibit four decorated cookies, using a minimum of four different techniques. Exhibit may use cookies OR cookie forms.
  • Exhibit four decorated cupcakes, using a minimum of four different techniques. Exhibit may use cupcakes OR cupcake forms.
  • Exhibit a single layer decorated cake, using a minimum of four different techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

50333    Visual Arts Food Decorating Intermediate

Exhibit one of the following:

  • Exhibit four decorated cookies, using a minimum of five Level 2 techniques. Exhibit may use cookies OR cookie forms.
  • Exhibit four decorated cupcakes, using a minimum of five Level 2 techniques. Exhibit may use cupcakes OR cupcake forms.
  • Exhibit a single layer or two-layer cakes, using a minimum of five Level 2 techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

50334    Visual Arts Food Decorating Advanced

Exhibit a decorated, stacked and/or tiered cake, using a minimum of four Level 3 techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

50335    Visual Arts Food Decorating Master

Exhibit to include a one-page written description of your project, including goals, plans, accomplishments, and evaluation of results. Include up to four pictures of your accomplishments AND exhibit an original design decorated cake using more than five techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

50336    Visual Arts Chalk/Carbon/Pigment

Any original art work done with pencils, chalk, pens, ink, paint, charcoal, dyes, etc. on canvas, paper, or glass. This would include all painting, sketching, drawing, cartooning, printing, etc. Note: Please enter painting on wood, metal, or textiles in Heritage Arts. Painted and/or glazed pre-formed ceramics and painted porcelain dolls are not eligible for State Fair exhibit. Drawings and paintings should be matted or framed under glass. (Exceptions: Oil and acrylic paintings do not require glass and are not required to be matted.) Water color, chalk, pen & ink, computer-generated art, etc. do require some protective covering. Gallery frames are acceptable. Canvas paintings that continue “over the edges” are acceptable without frames; however the piece must still be prepared for hanging. Matted pieces without frames are acceptable, however the piece must be prepared for hanging OR it must include a photo of the artwork being displayed in a non-hanging manner. There is no specific requirement for the type of mat used. Page 34 of the Illinois 4-H Arts Visual Arts Member’s Manual gives basic directions for a mat, but purchased, pre-cut mats are acceptable.

50337    Visual Arts Clay

Any original item made of clay; may be fired or unfired, hand formed or thrown on a wheel. Self-hardening clays are fine. Fire/oven-cured and cornstarch clay could be accepted. Items can include, but are not limited to, clay statues, bowls, jewelry, etc. Pre-formed ceramics are not eligible for State Fair exhibit.

50338    Visual Arts Computer-Generated Art

Any original art created in any software package. Exhibit may NOT include scanned work, clip art, downloaded images from the internet, any imported image, or photographs. All pixels must be original. Photo mosaics are NOT allowed. Exhibitors in this class (like all other classes in this sub-section) must be enrolled in Visual Arts; Computer project enrollment is not required. NOTE: Wood and metal exhibits created through the use of laser cutting programs/devices should be entered in this class.  Plastic exhibits with an artistic focus created using a 3-D printer should be entered in this class. If the art created is designed to hang, then the entry should have some protective covering, such as a glass frame, and prepared for hanging. If the art is something that has been created with a laser cutting program/device and is NOT designed to hand, it does not require protective covering nor does it need to be prepared to hang.

50339    Visual Arts Fiber

Any original item made of fiber. Examples are quilts, fabric collage, soft sculpture, stitchery, weaving, embroidery, cross-stitch, wearable art, hooking, braiding, and duct tape artistry. All baskets and decorated textiles (such as painted shirts or stenciled clothing) should be entered in Heritage Arts. Original cross-stitched, knitted, crocheted or quilted items belong in this Fiber class. Non-original cross-stitched, knitted, crocheted or quilted items should be entered in Heritage Arts. Machine knitted items are not appropriate for this class.

50350     Visual Arts Fiber Non-Original AGES 8-10 ONLY

Any non-original item made of fiber. Examples are fabric collage, soft sculpture, stitchery, weaving, embroidery, cross-stitch, crocheting, knitting, weaving, hooking, and felting. Exhibitors may use a pattern and/or an idea generated from another source. 

50340    Visual Arts Glass/Plastic

Any original item made of glass or plastic. Possible items to exhibit include stained glass, etched glass (original design), mosaics made of glass, glass beading, plastic jewelry (friendly plastic). Interlocking building block creations (i.e. LEGOS) are not suitable for State Fair entry. Stepping stones or wall hangings that include cement decorated with glass or plastic items are not suitable for this class.

50341    Visual Arts Heritage Arts

Exhibit an item of traditional art learned from another person or from a pattern (NO KITS) may be entered in this class. Cross-stitched, knitted and crocheted items by pattern fit in this class. (Machine knitted items ARE NOT acceptable for this class.) Other possibilities include: needlepoint, counted cross-stitch, crewel, embroidery, cut work, hardanger (embroidery openwork), macramé, baskets, candles, pysanki (decorated eggs), leather, quilts from a traditional pattern, traditional handmade dolls with handmade costumes, decorative painting on wood, metal, fiber, or candles. ALL baskets should be entered in Heritage Arts.

50342    Visual Arts Metal

Any original item made of metal such as sculpture, tin punch, engraved metal, and jewelry. Items intended for industrial use (as tools and/or shop items) are not considered part of this Visual Arts project and are not eligible for entry. Metal items that have been partially or totally created through the use of laser cutting programs/devices should be entered in Computer-Generated Art.

50343    Visual Arts Nature

Any original item made of natural material such as wreaths, cornhusk dolls, etc. Items should be made of natural materials (which may be purchased) but securing elements such as glue and wire may be used in the inner construction as long as they do not detract from the overall "natural" appearance. Articles such as dried pressed flowers may be displayed under glass since it is necessary for protection/preservation of the natural materials. Candles are not suitable as entries. All baskets should be entered in Heritage Arts.

50344    Visual Arts Paper

Any original item made of paper. Examples could include origami; greeting cards; paper-cut designs, paper mache, hand-made paper, paper collage, paper models of architecture, quilling, etc. Paper twist articles, made from directions in craft books and stores ARE NOT original and are not appropriate for this class. Scrapbooks should be exhibited in Visual Arts Scrapbooking.

50345    Visual Arts Scrapbooking, Beginning

Exhibit one album or notebook, either 8 ½” x 11” or 12”x12”, with a front and back cover. The album/notebook must have a minimum of 4 pages (front and back, 8 sides), exhibited in page protectors. “Embellishments” are defined as the decorations or special details and features that add to a page and make it more visually appealing. Embellishments may include, but are not limited to, ribbon, clips, special lettering, etc. Beginners must use a minimum of four embellishments and tell a story with pictures.

50346    Visual Arts Scrapbooking, Intermediate

Exhibit one album or notebook, either 8 ½” x 11” or 12”x12”, with a front and back cover. The album/notebook must have a minimum of 4 pages (front and back, 8 sides), exhibited in page protectors. “Embellishments” are defined as the decorations or special details and features that add to a page and make it more visually appealing. Embellishments may include, but are not limited to, ribbon, clips, special lettering, etc. Intermediate level exhibitors must use a minimum of eight embellishments and tell a story with pictures and journaling.

50347    Visual Arts Scrapbooking, Advanced

Exhibit one album or notebook, either 8 ½” x 11” or 12”x12”, with a front and back cover. The album/notebook must have a minimum of 4 pages (front and back, 8 sides), exhibited in page protectors. “Embellishments” are defined as the decorations or special details and features that add to a page and make it more visually appealing. Embellishments may include, but are not limited to, ribbon, clips, special lettering, etc.  Advance level exhibitors must use a minimum of 12 embellishments and tell a compelling story with pictures, journaling, and other media.  

50348    Visual Arts Three-Dimensional Design/Mixed Media

Art pieces in this class must be comprised of at least three different media. No one medium can make up more than 40% of a piece. The piece should be free-standing (not meant to be hung) that is observable on at least three different sides. Originality and design are important concepts. Craft and preformed or assembled projects are not acceptable.

50349    Visual Arts Wood

Any original item made of wood (wood carving, sculpture, collage, wood burning, etc.). Utilitarian wood items made from patterns or kits (e.g. outdoor or indoor furniture, shelves) should be entered in woodworking, not in visual arts. Popsicle stick crafts are not acceptable for State Fair entry. Wood items that have been partially or totally created through the use of laser cutting programs/devices should be entered in Computer-Generated Art.

50351    Visual Arts Ready4Life Challenge

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Visual Arts project

Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.