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Amethyst Awakening by Gina Wolfrum

Hicksville Artist Wins People’s Choice Award at Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition

Amethyst Awakening by Gina WolfrumFrom the bright bodies of tropical poison dart frogs to the electrostatic spark of lighting spreading through a thundercloud, beautiful details in nature often disguise underlying danger. 

Hicksville artist Gina Wolfrum’s award-winning piece, “Amethyst Awakening,” is no different, as it is adorned with sharp-cut gemstones that seductively sparkle in the light. Arranged at the bottom of her beachscape painting, the rocks—sprinkled among slivers of glass—beckon viewers to step closer to the shimmering shoreline, drawing attention past the purple-paved pathway to the pink waters beyond.

Although painted in pastel hues beneath a cotton-candy colored sky, the water’s placidity in "Amethyst Awakening" also belies a cautionary message hidden in its depths.

When she was 7 years old, Wolfrum almost drowned in a lake while on a family outing. Her father saved her, but the experience left her with a fear of drowning and a special connection to water that is equal parts fascination and trepidation.

“Having almost drowned, I have this huge respect and fear of water. There’s a lot of danger associated with water, whether it’s a riptide at a beach or, in the winter, breaking through the ice,” Wolfrum said. “And if you look at the sky in the painting, the upper part is almost a little foreboding. That was also to give you a sense of beauty and danger associated with the piece, along with the lure of the water drawing you in further and further.”

From its perch on the wall at the 2019 Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, “Amethyst Awakening” seemed to do just that, mesmerizing guests who passed by the 6-foot-by-6-foot canvas in the fair’s Cox Fine Arts Center. The piece won the annual People’s Choice Award, a $500 prize sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) that is determined by votes exhibition visitors cast throughout the duration of the fair.

In addition to the People’s Choice Award,
the OAC sponsored 16 other awards, which were presented to artists during the exhibition’s opening ceremony on July 23. This year, the fair distributed more than 40 awards to amateur and professional artists.

Although this was the first time she has shown her work in the state fair exhibition, Wolfrum said she couldn’t help but feel the show’s focus this year, “A Perspective From Nature,” was a perfect fit.

“I felt like the category was written for that piece. They said that they wanted to see the actual element, and I don’t know if it gets more real than that,” Wolfrum said, referencing approximately 60 pounds of hand-chosen Brazilian amethyst crystal clusters she adhered to the painting. “I liked the healing properties of the amethyst … and a lot of it is the process. Selecting the pieces and the colors, a lot of that is therapy itself.”

No matter if viewers were blissfully beguiled by the piece’s dazzling beauty or darkly drawn to its depiction of danger, Wolfrum said she hopes “Amethyst Awakening” above all evokes emotion.

“Everyone is going to have their own take on a piece. Sometimes, people have said it gives them goosebumps, or if they know the painting is about drowning or fear of water, they can relate to that as well. I’ve had people who will get what they say are vibrations from the stones,” she said, referencing the healing and spiritual properties often associated with certain gems. “If someone can relate to it and it can draw emotion, that’s what I’m going for.”

To view more of Wolfrum’s work, visit

For more information about the Ohio State Fair, visit


The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at

Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist

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