Above: Fairgoers on the swings at the "Kidway" at the Minnesota State Fair in 2019. COVID-19 canceled ths year's fair. Photo: Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune. 

COVID-19 canceled the 2020 Minnesota State Fair, but the fair’s beloved art exhibition will still happen through ticketed gallery visits, a video recording and virtual catalogue.

Tickets for gallery showings between Aug. 27 through Labor Day, the normal time of the fair, go on sale Tuesday, July 14 at 9 a.m. When visitors purchase tickets for $10 each, they will also select a 90-minute time slot for their visit. The building will operate at 25 percent capacity per the social distancing orders set forth by Gov. Walz

“It’s a service to the community to allow the art to be seen in some way,” said Jim Clark, Fine Arts Superintendent at the fair.

For some people, this is one of the few times they  see art all year. 

“Hopefully artists can connect with the hearts and minds of viewers in this way, as we have for the past 110 years,” said Clark. “Not having the show would leave a pretty desperate hole in a lot of people's summer, if not lives.”

The registration deadline for artists to submit work is July 27 at 4:30 p.m. The artwork will be installed as it normally is in the Fine Arts Building and will then be photographed. A virtual tour may be available.

The exhibition will be juried in the same way it always is, with work divided by medium into eight sections. Jurors will review digital submissions. Work must have been made after Jan. 1, 2018, and artists must be living residents of Minnesota.

In 2019, more than 2,500 pieces were submitted, and 334 winning entries were accepted into the exhibition. Last year saw artwork that was less political than the previous year, along with more depictions of women, fewer animals than normal, and a lot of imagery of Native Americans.