Ohio County Fair: art or pornography?

Published: Aug. 24, 2018 at 3:25 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2018 at 5:19 PM EDT
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Greenville, Ohio - A controversy at the Darke County Fair in Ohio has two artists shaking their heads and wondering just what is going on.

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When Mikayla Setser of Greenville won first place at the Darke County Fair in photography she was thrilled. However, when she showed up to have her photo taken for the local newspaper she was told her picture had been removed because it was considered "child pornography." Setser entered her photograph of a friend's daughter on Wednesday, was judged and placed first on Friday, but on Saturday the image was removed.

The photograph is a friend's little girl in tub of bubbles.

In a social media post Setser articulated her frustration and confusion. "I entered a similar picture of my son that was not removed," Setser said.

Setser was told by Fine Arts Director Nancy Foureman that her photo could be considered "child pornography."

"I was really upset with the term child pornography," Setser said. "That's not a term that should be thrown around lightly."

Setser was not the only artist who had work removed from the show. Amanda Mote, an artist who works in pastels and drawings also had her work removed because it contained partial nudity.

Amanda Mote, a pastel artist, had three pieces removed the show before the doors opened.

Mote said she carefully read the rules and there was no indication that her work would be perceived as inappropriate. Mote, who pursued art as therapy and has never had any professional classes and said she had not received any negative comments about her work. "I was upset, I was shaking," Mote said. "I had put a lot of hard work into them."

Sister of Amanda Mote, Gina Ferguson, is an advocate for her sister and in a social media post articulated her frustration. Ferguson told Cleveland 19 that she spoke with Fine Arts Director Nancy Foureman who told her some of the pieces removed were "illegal" and "pornographic."

Ferguson asked Foureman who was responsible for the removal of the artwork, but was unable to get a straight answer. When Ferguson pressed Foureman further, Ferguson told Cleveland 19 that Foureman told her. "A German Baptist could come through here and be offended."

"It's not going to change this year," Ferguson said, "maybe we can change it for the future."

"She (Foureman) rules the roost," Mote said. "It's not going to set me back."

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