New State Fair-winning art goes up at China Star in Brooklyn Park

New State Fair prize-winning art adorns the walls of the small, family-owned China Star restaurant at 6276 Boone Ave. N. in Brooklyn Park.

Regular customers recognize the pencil, pastel and acrylic artwork on the walls as the work of owner Cindy Chen’s eighth-grade daughter Lillian.

Lillian Chen holds up the drawing that won her a blue ribbon at this year’s State Fair. (Photo by Jonathan Young)

Lillian Chen holds up the drawing that won her a blue ribbon at this year’s State Fair. (Photo by Jonathan Young)

“Everybody knows Lillian did this,” Cindy said, pointing to a picture of a beautiful painting of a tree hanging on the wall.

What they may not know is that every year since 2008, Lillian has won at least one blue ribbon for her art at the State Fair.

This year was no exception. She took a first prize for a pencil drawing of a tiger and two second-place ribbons — one for a pencil drawing of a lantern and one for a tiger painted with pastels.

The two prize-winning pencil drawings recently joined other samples of her work hanging on the wall in the restaurant.

Lillian, who lives in Maple Grove and goes to Maple Grove Junior High, has enjoyed drawing since she was very young. She loved it so much she decided to do art on the wall of her home — with a pen.

“It’s still on the wall,” she said, laughing.

Her parents recognized her interest in drawing and started her in private art lessons at age 8. She practices almost every day.

“I like doodling,” she said. Then she added, with a guilty look, “Especially in school.”

When her art teacher suggested she enter drawings at the State Fair, she agreed. And she won a blue ribbon the first year she entered. She could hardly believe it when she saw the results online.

Since then, Lillian has received numerous blue ribbons and even won a grand prize. In fact, she’s been so successful that winning only one first prize and two second prizes this year disappointed her.

“I just think I’ve failed,” she said.

But she admitted no one else agrees with the assessment.

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