Minnesota State Fair announces 2022 commemorative artist

The Minnesota State Fair announced Tuesday that artist Leslie Barlow has been chosen to create the 2022 fair commemorative art.

Barlow is a Minneapolis-based visual artist, educator and cultural worker who creates life-sized oil paintings. Her work looks at how race intertwines into our personal lives. Barlow draws on community dialogue and personal experiences as artistic inspiration.

Artist Leslie Barlow
(Minnesota State Fair)

“I often paint the kinds of narratives and portraits that feel underrepresented in our visual culture, images that would have been meaningful for me to witness as a young person,” Barlow said in a press release.

The artist went on to explain her excitement for creating the special fair artwork.

“The Minnesota State Fair always brings those fuzzy feelings of nostalgia for me. As a kid, every year I looked forward to my whole family getting together at the fair, and it was the kind of anticipation and joy similar to the feelings you get when celebrating a holiday. As an adult, I still look forward to the art, the food, the music, and the chance run-ins with friends and fam amongst the chaos of the crowd.”

Barlow’s commemorative 2022 State Fair art piece will be unveiled in June and be available to purchase as a poster and on other merchandise. Profits support the Minnesota State Fair Foundation nonprofit.

Barlow attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout where she graduated with a BFA. She went on to earn her MFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has been the recipient of a handful of art fellowships and grants. At the state fair last year, she was part of the group of a dozen artists who created pieces for the “Joyful World Mural Park” project at the fairgrounds.

The 2022 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 5 – Sept 5.