State Fair Fine Arts competition entrants at record numbers

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Robert Meyer was busy at the table of the Fine Arts Center on the Minnesota State Fair grounds the weekend of Aug. 7. Over 2,500 artists, hoping for one of the selected 370 coveted spots in the juried State Fair art exhibition, were dropping off their sculptures, photographs, paintings, ceramics and other media.

Meyer, president of the Minnesota Art Center, loves his job. “It’s an honor to work here,” he said. “The State Fair Art Exhibition is the largest juried show in Minnesota. It’s first or second in the nation for state fair shows. Our show has grown significantly.”

Indeed, the Fine Arts Show brings in the numbers with last year’s exhibition totaling 400,000 viewers, according to Meyer. “This year’s number of entrants has broken another record. It’s a super honor to get in the show. It is very difficult. Quality is the result of the competition and we have professional judges.”

A sculpture covered in dental and medical supplies was one of the pieces waiting for a decision to be included this year. A photograph of a Barbie doll hanging up her lingerie on a clothesline was another piece wanting to get in. A snowflake made entirely of recycled milk containers hoped for inclusion.

Only Minnesota residents are allowed to participate in the highly competitive show. “It is required that people have Minnesota addresses,” Meyer said. “Only from magnificent Minnesota. The State Fair is the magic kingdom as far as I am concerned, with all due respect to Walt Disney.”

The juried selection takes place by Aug. 12, when exhibitors will be notified by email if their piece was accepted. Previews of the admitted pieces will be Aug. 25 by invitation. The 98th Annual Fine Arts show will be available free for all State Fair goers Aug. 27-Sept. 7 in the fine arts building on the corner of Cosgrove and Randall.

“We are very, very, extremely proud of our show,” Meyer said as he greeted more artists.