A painting by St. Paul artist Ta-coumba Aiken will be the Minnesota State Fair’s 2017 official commemorative print.
Aiken unveiled his colorful acrylic-on-canvas interpretation of the fair’s lively spirit Thursday at the fairgrounds. The original piece will be on display in the Fine Arts Center during the fair, which will run Aug. 24 through Labor Day, Sept. 4. It also can be viewed online.
“In preparation, I visited last year’s fair 12 times over nine days and found myself concentrating on the enormous amount of energy and positive spirit I felt all over the fairgrounds,” Aiken said of his painting. “I observed people of every race, culture, gender, and they were all exploring. Just like the fair, my piece has your eyes moving from one place to another until they settle in on something familiar. I had hoped to embrace this magical place in a whimsical way.”
Aiken, who serves on the board of the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, has participated in the creation of more than 600 murals and public art sculptures.
The commemorative poster, a limited number of signed prints and other merchandise featuring the art are available for purchase at msffoundation.org. Proceeds will support the Minnesota State Fair Foundation mission to preserve and improve the historic State Fairgrounds and support State Fair educational programs.
In previous years, fair artists have included Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (2004), Mary GrandPré (2005), Nancy Carlson (2006), Michael Birawer (2007), Edie Abnet (2008), Leo Stans (2009), Deborah Voyda Rogers (2010), Steve Thomas (2011), Joe Heffron (2012), Marie Olofsdotter (2013), Emily L. Taylor (2014), Adam Turman (2015) and Michael Sweere (2016). A gallery of past artwork is available at mnstatefair.org/art.