The "amazing" art work of 101 local and regional artists will be on display and for sale at the 19th annual Castle Arts Affair next weekend.

The "amazing" art work of 101 local and regional artists will be on display and for sale at the 19th annual Castle Arts Affair next weekend.

"We have an amazing amount of (artistic) talent in Delaware and central Ohio," said Kevin Greenwood, executive director of the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center, known as the Arts Castle. Over 1,000 pieces of art from all mediums will be displayed at this year's event at the Arts Castle at 190 W. Winter St.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, Nov. 6 with a reservations-only preview party from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $40 and include wine, hors d' oeuvres and the music of the Delaware Hayes String Quartet.

The public sale takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 7 and from noon to 4 p.m. on Nov. 8. Admission is free both days.

While many of the pieces are traditional artistic mediums, such as the paintings, ceramics, jewelry and photographs, there are several unique pieces as well, Greenwood said, such as fabric art, handmade pens, wooden boxes, glass kaleidoscopes and folk art animals and birds.

This event is the kick-off to the holiday season, Greenwood said. The displays are spread throughout the 1854 limestone mansion, among the backdrops of Christmas trees, wreaths, yards of garlands and other trimmings which will remain up throughout the holiday season.

This year's featured artist is Delaware resident James Fought, chosen from among the 101 artists contributing to this year's event.

"One of the most difficult decisions associated with the Arts Affair is selecting the featured artist," said Kathy Wanner, this year's event chair. "There are so many talented artists who take part each year it is never easy to select an individual for this honor. Not only are Jim's paintings beautiful, but as a self-taught watercolorist who is willing and able to instruct, he is inspiring to others wanting to learn."

Fought specializes in landscapes, seascapes, house and barn portraits, as well as Amish scenes.

"I've always liked to draw," he said. "My pencil drawings grew into pen and ink, then oil paintings. The smell of oil paints and solvents bothered my wife; thus began my watercolor career."

The event is a major fundraiser for The Arts Castle, Greenwood said. The artists contribute 40 percent of their sales, which totaled $11,000 in 2008. There is also a raffle with many of the artists contributing pieces. Tickets are $1 each.

"I've worked for a lot of nonprofits, but this is one fundraiser that matches most closely the organization's mission ... to support the artists, support education and allow families to get a piece of art work at an affordable price," he said.

While the adults shop, the first floor jewelry room will become a holiday workshop for children where high school students will help them make ornaments, decorated gift bags and other treasures, Greenwood said. Those events are free as is gift wrapping.

The holiday fun doesn't end with the end of the sale, Greenwood said. There are several classes, programs and the annual holiday open house listed in the fall 2009 catalog.

"Holiday event" icons mark those classes and programs, which include a "Gingerbread" House Makeover;" two holiday plays, "The Toys Take Over" and "The Emperor's Nightingale;" a Winter Street PuppetWorks: Holiday Spectacular;" and the annual English Christmas Tea.

In collaboration with the Central Ohio Symphony, the Arts Castle will host an open house on Sunday, Dec. 13, the day of the symphony's Christmas concerts. Concertgoers are invited to visit the Arts Castle before or after the 2 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. programs in Ohio Wesleyan University's Gray Chapel.

Information on these events is available at www.artscastle.org. Copies of the fall catalog are available at The Arts Castle or by calling (740) 369-2787.