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Minnesota State Fair animals featured in commemorative photo

The 2019 Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Art, by R. J. Kern, will be unveiled at the State Fairgrounds on Thursday, June 6, 2019. The piece will be on display in the Fine Arts Center during the 2019 Great Minnesota Get-Together, Aug. 22 through Labor Day, Sept. 2, and can be viewed at mnstatefair.org/commemorative-art/. Kern is the first photographer to be chosen as the State Fair's Official Commemorative Artist. (Courtesy of the The Minnesota State Fair)

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota State Fairʼs official 2019 commemorative art is a photo for the first time since the fair started choosing artwork in 2004 to celebrate the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

State Fair animals are featured in the piece by fine art photographer R.J. Kern. It was unveiled Thursday, June 6, at the fairgrounds. The 2.5-by-5-foot piece will be on display in the Fine Arts Center during this year’s State Fair, which runs Aug. 22 through Labor Day.

For the final work, Kern created portraits of the top male and female open-class exhibition winners in the goat, swine, poultry, sheep, llama, rabbit, beef cattle, draft horse and stock dog categories.

“Moments after being awarded the title ‘Supreme Champion’ in 2018, the animals were escorted to my photography studio on the Fairgrounds (with safety as a top priority, of course),” Kern, who lives in Minneapolis, said in a news release. “After the 12 days of fun, I composited the portraits together to create the final print.”

Kern’s work has been exhibited around the world, including the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in Tbilisi, Georgia, the Yixian International Photography Festival in Anhui, China, and a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston. His work has been published in National Geographic.

The commemorative poster and a limited number of signed prints and other merchandise featuring the art are available for purchase at mnstatefair.org, and will also be available during the fair at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book and State Fair Poster Carts on the Fairgrounds.