The Minnesota State Fair's 2013 Commemorative Art was unveiled on Wednesday, June 5 by artist Marie Olofsdotter of Minneapolis. Olofsdotter presented her original acrylic piece to the public for the first time surrounded by media, State Fair fans and art enthusiasts at the J.V. Bailey House on the fairgrounds. The piece will be on display at the Fine Arts Center during the fairʼs 12-day run.
Olofsdotter’s signature style is lyrical, magical realism – saturated with color and mapped with flowing lines and bold shapes. Created exclusively for the State Fair, her acrylic piece captures agriculture as the heart of the State Fair as well as Minnesotans' rich relationship with the land. Her art is inspired by State Fair posters from the late 1800s that often depicted women involved in agriculture. Olofsdotter used that idea as a starting point for her artwork, and then included festivities of the fair against a backdrop of open fields as a reminder of where the State Fair began.
“I moved to Minnesota in 1981 and was captivated by the diversity of cultures, the indigenous landscape and thriving artist community. I decided to stay and Minnesota has been my home ever since," Olofsdotter said. "Since that time I have been fortunate to have traveled all around the state as a teaching artist, so like the fair, I feel a special connection to many different communities. With this piece I strived to inspire awareness and establish a loving relationship with the planet Earth.”
In August 2012, fair officials announced a call for submissions. After the review of nearly 30 works of art, Olofsdotter was named the official artist for 2013 by a panel of judges including State Fair staff and members of the visual arts community.
Born and raised in Sweden, Olofsdotter now lives on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. She received formal training in art history and sculpture in Sweden. In addition, she studied theatrical clowning and mask theater before moving to the United States in 1981. She has worked as a freelance maskmaker and performer in Stockholm, Paris, Berlin and Minnesota. The author and illustrator of several picture books, she has received major awards, including a Mid-America Publishers Award, Midwest Book Achievement Award, Benjamin Franklin Silver Award, Minnesota Book Award, Loft Mentor Award in poetry, and grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Most recently, she was the recipient of a 2013 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in visual arts. Olofsdotter has worked as a creative consultant and teaching artist for more than 20 years. She has shared her enthusiasm for creativity and the arts through the Walker Art Center, Minnesota Opera, The Loft Literary Center, The MacPhail Center for the Arts, public libraries and schools across the country. Visit marieolofsdotter.com for more information.
Commemorative art posters and a limited number of signed giclee prints featuring Olofsdotter’s art are available for purchase at msffoundation.org. Posters may also be purchased at the State Fair Box Office on the fairgrounds. Sizes and pricing are as follows: posters (18" x 24") $10; and signed giclee prints (19.75" x 26") $100. Proceeds from commemorative art merchandise support the Minnesota State Fair Foundation 501(c)(3) mission to preserve and improve State Fair buildings, grounds and educational experiences.
The 2013 Official Commemorative Art is the 10th in a series of annual artwork created exclusively for the State Fair. In previous years, Minnesota State 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) and Joe Heffron (2012). A gallery of past artwork is available here.