ART MERIT AWARD
Layne Diehl (Self-Portrait)
Erie County Fair Creative Arts Building
2023 Junior Section Winners!
ABOUT THE JUNE PEARL ART MERIT AWARD
FIVE contestants each year who enter in the 'Junior's Section 5-17' at the Erie County Fair have a chance to win the
coveted June Pearl Art Merit Award along with $25 in prize money. Kelsey (June's Granddaughter) and Wendy Merkle (June's daughter) select 1 award per age group, with one extra, in the event it is very close and hard to choose, in a category (which is always true.).
ABOUT JUNE PEARL
June Pearl defied all odds as an artist. June's father enrolled her in secretarial school despite the fact that she had received a full scholarship at FIT in New York. Women were not artists in the 1950s; they worked as secretaries, nurses, and teachers.
June made several Santas during her tenure as Chairwoman of Hamburg Holidays, which has an advent castle with windows that unveil artwork of the town's children each day in December.
Applications open each year May 1st.
Additionally, June taught as an elementary Art School teacher and adored the Fair. She was known as "Aggie Mae" the Chimney Sweep Fair Clown in many circles. She entered a large number of children in the art competition. They frequently entered art contests, and June kept a wire and hooks in her car for children who failed to follow the requirements.
When June began her battle with Parkinson's disease, her daughter Wendy Merkle established the June Pearl Art Merit Award in conjunction with the Erie County Fair, with Wendy's firm, Room To Spare Storage, providing the ribbons and award money.
June was the initial judge, stepping in with a cane the first year. While she was in a wheelchair the next year, June made sure she was there to judge. Kelsey, June's granddaughter, has taken up the judging duties following her grandmother's passing.
The June Pearl Award is the perfect tribute, as June adored art, children, and the fair. Consider entering your child or grandchild, next year.