St. Paul, Minn. St. Paul artist Ta-coumba Aiken (pronounced tah COOM-bah A ke-en) has been selected to create the official 2017 Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Art. His original interpretation of the Great Minnesota Get-Together will be unveiled at the State Fairgrounds in June, according to the State Fair press release.

“I love the Minnesota State Fair, and it is an honor to create the 2017 commemorative artwork,” said Aiken. “I look forward to expressing the joy of the fair on canvas with vibrant colors and rhythmic patterns. My interpretation will show the fair’s harmony and chaos at the same time. I believe the fair is an adventure to discover just ‘one more thing,’ and the piece will allow the viewer to notice many different things each time.”

Aiken is an artist, arts administrator and educator who focuses on public art and collaborative projects. He serves on the board of The Minneapolis College of Art & Design. His “rhythm painting & spirit writing” styles on paper/canvas are loose and lively. He has participated in the creation of more than 600 murals and public art sculptures with themes ranging from local history to his own style of rhythmic pattern and spirit writing. “I create my art to heal the hearts of people and their communities, by evoking positive spirit.” Aiken has served on the boards of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, the African American Cultural Arts Center, Forecast Public Arts and the St. Paul Arts Collective. He has acted as an advisor on the arts for both the City of St. Paul and the City of Minneapolis. He has been the recipient of awards including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship, The Sally Irvine Award and a Bush Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship. Aiken’s works can be found internationally in public and private collections, including those of the Walker Art Center, RBC Wealth Management, BUSH Foundation, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, Maya Angelou and Spiritmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden, to list a few.

The commemorative poster, a limited number of signed prints and other merchandise featuring the art will be available for purchase after the June unveiling. Proceeds will support the Minnesota State Fair Foundation 501(c)(3) mission to preserve and improve the historic State Fairgrounds and support State Fair educational programs. The original art will be on display during the 12-day run of the 2017 State Fair.

The 2017 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 24 – Labor Day, Sept. 4.


About Barb Teed

Barb has a M.A. in Liberal Studies from Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn., a B.A. in Media Studies from New School University, NYC., and Associates of Arts degree in Anthropology from Normandale Community College, Bloomington Minn. I was born in Duluth, Minn.