State Fair's signature art is new ... and old

This is the mosaic created by Minneapolis mosaic artist Michael Sweere for the 2016 Minnesota State Fair commemorative poster. State Fair officials unveiled the art Thursday.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The Minnesota State Fair's annual commemorative art has a new twist this year. It includes part of last year's fair.

Minneapolis mosaic artist Michael Sweere used cardboard that once held food, beverages or other items at the fair.

"I came out in 2015 and gathered whatever kinds of paper material that would work and I talked to vendors and I found give away things that could be incorporated into the art," Sweere said at the official unveiling at Giggles' Campfire Grill, one of the permanent food stands on the fairgrounds.

"I took those memories of last year's fair and incorporated them into this year's fair."

With those scraps, Sweere depicts a llama, the Midway, the Agriculture Horticulture building and a crowd of fairgoers.

It's the 13th year that the fair has commissioned an artist.

The unveiling marks the kickoff for official fair preparations. Officials announce this year's new foods later this month. The list of new rides and attractions follows in July.

Sweere said that he hopes his work evokes for others the things he loves about Minnesota's 12-day state exposition.

"Some of my favorite things at the fair are the animals, the people watching, the rides. And I love the excitement of the Midway," Sweere said of his work.

"I love walking down the Midway, especially at night, with all the bright lights, and the smells of food and the noises and the commotion. It's just a lot of excitement and I hope that artwork conveys that same excitement."