Much of mosaic made of recycled materials from 2015 Fair

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Fair's 2016 Commemorative Art is all about the 2015 Minnesota State Fair.Mosaic artist Michael Sweere created the image using bits of last summer's Fair. According to a State Fair news release: "Every piece was han...

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Image courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota State Fair’s 2016 Commemorative Art is all about the 2015 Minnesota State Fair.
Mosaic artist Michael Sweere created the image using bits of last summer’s Fair. According to a State Fair news release: “Every piece was hand-cut from a cardboard package that had been a promotional item at the Fair or previously contained food, beverages or a wide range of household consumables.”
The pieces of cardboard were glued to a masonite panel to create “Lucky” the llama surrounded by iconic images of the Fair.
In a State Fair tradition, the art was revealed Thursday at the Fairgrounds.
The recycled materials weren’t always easy to come by at the Fair, Sweere said, because the Great Minnesota Get-Together does a good job of recycling. He had to ask vendors for packaging and promotional items.
Sweere said he and his friends and relatives are always on the lookout for material and certain colors for his mosaic work.
The right shades of green for the square at the center of the poster came from macaroni boxes, Sprite soda, Rolling Rock beer and hand-held fans from last year’s State Fair, he said.
“Easily half of the material came from last year’s Fair,” Sweere said, a little more conservative estimate than the official word from the State Fair.
Why a llama for the centerpiece animal? “Everybody does cows, roosters and pigs,” he said.
Sweere is a Minneapolis artist who attended Mankato Technical Institute and received a degree in commercial and technical art. He worked as an art director, illustrator and graphic designer for Minneapolis advertising agencies for 20 years.
In 2005, he left commercial work to pursue fine arts and formed the Michael Sweere Mosaic Company. His commissioned installations can be found in corporate, private and public collections, including airports, schools and health care facilities throughout the United States.
He was recently chosen to be one of 34 Minnesota artists to create work for the Minnesota Vikings’ new home, U.S. Bank Stadium.
The original artwork will be on display during the Fair (Aug. 25 through Labor Day) in the Fine Arts Center.
The commemorative poster, a limited number of signed prints and other merchandise featuring the art can be purchased at Proceeds support Fairgrounds improvements and preservation and Fair educational programs.
The 2016 Official Commemorative Art is the 13th in a series of annual works created exclusively for the Fair. Previous years’ artists are Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (2004), Mary GrandPré (2005), Nancy Carlson (2006), Michael Birawer (2007), Edie Abnet (2008), Leo Stans (2009), Deborah Voyda Rogers (2010), Steve Thomas (2011), Joe Heffron (2012), Marie Olofsdotter (2013), Emily L. Taylor (2014) and Adam Turman (2015).
For more information on Sweere and his work, go to

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