These artists are swapping out paint and clay for seeds and grains

Catherine Garcia
·1 min read

For decades, creative Minnesotans have been using lentils, poppy seeds, flax, and rye to make portraits, cartoons, and sculptures to put on display at the State Fair. This year, their crop art is going digital, and will be showcased online so their masterpieces can be seen around the world.

Crop art was first introduced at the fair in 1965, as a way of teaching people where their food comes from, the Star Tribune reports. The competition has become increasingly popular, with 324 contest entries last year. The building where the art is displayed is routinely crowded with fair attendees who want to see creations like Jill Moe's self-explanatory portrait "Hall in Oats," depicting Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame with his hair made of oats. Crop art, Moe told the Star Tribune, is a "wonderfully democratic canvas."

The Minnesota State Fair was called off this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but spokeswoman Danielle Dullinger said several competitions will be moved online for 2020, with the participants submitting photos of their creations. Crop art has "loyal die-hards," Dullinger added, and "we could not leave that competition out."

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