Corporate Art Force

Art on a Stick


Northeast Minneapolis Artists at the Minnesota State Fair

It’s the end of summer, so that could only mean one thing for Minnesota: The State Fair. When you think of the State Fair, you probably think of fried food (on a stick, of course), big crowds, carnival rides, and maybe live music. However, arguably the best thing about the state fair is the Fine Arts Exhibition.

The Fine Arts Exhibition is a a juried exhibition that results from an annual competition that is open to all Minnesota artists. The 2016 exhibit features 319 works chosen from 2,370 entries. Through the couple weeks that the State Fair is going on, more than 250,000 people attend the Fine Arts Exhibition, making it the third-most visited art museum/gallery space in Minnesota.

Below, we are highlighting a few of the Northeast Minneapolis artists who are presenting work at the Fine Arts Exhibition. You’ll find a photo of the work exhibited, as well as a few words about the piece and/or the fair.

Jack Dale

“One day, as I was working on this painting (and I don’t really have a plan when I start, I just start) my mind went way back to high school and the math classes that I took. I remembered that geometry was my favorite and this painting grew out of that. I think I might do more with this theme in the future.”

jack daleJack Dale alongside his work

Mike Welton

I have been painting vintage signage for 15 years as one of my ongoing series of Oil paintings.

I prefer scouting the landscape to find original signage to photograph as a guild to painting them, but that is becoming more difficult in recent years as more original signage from the 40’s 50’s 60’s disappears from our environment. This piece is of a sign still up in original condition off of 7th street going out of downtown Minneapolis. I have gotten several pieces in the State Fair over the years. When artists could be directly contacted from potential buyers from the fair show, I’ve sold several paintings from the Fair showing. Not every State has a Fair show so this is a great opportunity to get your work seen by the largest audience in Minnesota.

mike welton - snoboy

Theresa Grams

“I am an oil painter who loves to paint farm animals and wildlife. I typically photograph the subjects myself and then create the painting in my studio, incorporating the personality and energy of the animal into the painting as I go.  “Grumpy’s Bluebonnets” was inspired by a massive Texas Longhorn I met while photographing a beautiful herd of longhorns at the Johnson Cattle Company farm near Buffalo.  I used a rainbow of colors to the palette for this painting, which I thought added extra energy and sassiness to his very calm and sweet temperament.  

I am a huge State Fair fan and am excited to be participating in the art show this year.  I usually enter a baking competition or two, and won the blue ribbon last year for cake decorating.  Next year I plan to test my abilities with crop art as well!”

Grams_TheresaGrumpy’s Bluebonnets by Therasea Grams

Nancy Grist

I am pleased to be awarded Honorable Mention in this year’s MN State Fair Art Exhibit Drawings & Pastels category for my pastel titled “Emmon’s Creek Road II.” This is a figurative piece which, like most of my work, focuses on the intimate silence of light as it graces form and structure in the landscape, dynamic yet quiet, strong and soft, hopeful. 

nancy girst

Emmon’s Creek Road II by Nancy Grist


Pamela Lifson

The piece is called Haze. This painting mimics, in an abstract way, the sensation of looking into a haze and seeing visual clarity coming in and out of focus.

pam lifsonHaze by Pamela Lifson

Lois Rhomberg

“SeedBody: On Reaching the Age of my Mother’s Death”  (40″ x 40″, oil on canvas)

I love participating in the fair!  So many people come to the Fine Arts Building who wouldn’t go to gallery shows, so it’s a great way to share with a broad audience. 

It does feel a bit vulnerable to put out such a personal piece, but the Fair is a good venue for something dramatic, something that makes a statement.

lois rhombergSeedBody my Lois Rhomberg

Peter Vanni

Peter Vanni

Annie Hejny

 The painting is titled, “Mississippi River Bottom” and is created with collected river water and sediment. This is my second year participating in the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition and I received the Artreach St. Croix award. 

Hejny_MississippiRiverBottom_StateFair2016Mississippi River Bottom by Annie Hejny

Patty Voje

The title is “Miss World”, 24 x 24″, Oil on cradled Gessobord. I’m a combination studio/plein air painter. My studio painting is focused on farm animals. All of my studio work is done from my reference sketches and photography. I spend a lot of time with cows, pigs and chickens :). There is an awareness piece to this art. My goal is to engage the viewer, get them to see farm animals on a more emotional level and ideally build conversations on how farm animals are treated.

Miss World was found in beautiful Glencoe, MN. She had a air about her that said she was more than just “Miss Wisconsin.” Very confident cow 🙂 This is my third time exhibiting at the Minnesota State Fair. I grew up on a small farm and was a proud 4Her, so getting a “cow” in the State Fair is a big deal to me. And, as a Minnesota artist, very honored to be accepted into this years Fine Art Exhibit.

Miss_World patty vojeMiss World by Patty Voje

Patrick Pryor

I am interested in mutable imagery that engages our imagination and memories, however fleeting and mutable themselves, of places that we’ve seen or experienced. Layers of acrylic paint and fine pumice powder are applied with a squeegee and sanded throughout the painting process. The final image is deceptively flat and smooth.

Horizon with Green #5 -Patrick PryorHorizon with Green #5 by Patrick Pryor

Kyle Fokken

I’ve been lucky to have work in the fair almost every year for a number of years now, even winning a few awards in the process! I look forward to seeing what types of work make it in and there’s usually a really nice variety to be seen. 

What I look forward to the most are the people looking at the work and the conversations they have about it. Usually, the comments are positive and reaffirm its way of connecting to non-artists. I think that’s what makes it fun, is that the appreciation of the work is a reaction to the visual object and not the heady discourse with trying to figure out my intentions based on the Artist’s Statement. I like to know that my work has a way of drawing people into enjoying art and ultimately, maybe even trying to figure out what it all means. 

kyle fokken state fair

Kristine Fretheim

Taste, scent, texture, and sound all contribute to seeing in the watercolor world of Midwest artist Kristine Fretheim. Sensuous use of pattern, rhythm, color, and light guide the viewer through the natural, organic shapes she loves to paint.

“My watercolors blend abstraction and realism. I’m drawn to the formal elements of painting and design, using them to evoke a felt sense of my subject matter. My painting ‘Euphoria’ is an attempt to convey a sense of the unfathomable beauty and complexity of life.”

The largest annual art exhibit in the state, the Minnesota State Fair showcases an eclectic array of fine art and photography. Kristine Fretheim was the Class C– Watercolor juror for the state fair in 2014.

euphoria by kristine fretheimEuphoria by Kristine Fretheim