A listing of Artists, Designers and Architects who were born, raised or have lived in Minnesota, and have left their mark in their chosen fields on a national or international level.

  • William Albert Allard (Minneapolis, MN)
    Allard is a photographer of people, and a National Geographic photographer and writer for almost 50 years. The son of a Swedish immigrant, William Albert Allard studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota.
  • Jim Brandenburg (Luverne, MN)
    Nature photographer/Author; National Geographic Photographer for over thirty years. Has received a numerous honors for his work including; the United Nations Environmental Programme World Achievement Award, 1991; and “Magazine Photographer of the Year” by the National Press Photographers Association.
  • John Paul Edwards (Minnesota)
    Photographer and member of the infamous group “f/64”, a small group of San Francisco photographers that included Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward Weston. “f/64” was devoted to a new Modernist aesthetic based on precisely exposed images of natural forms and found objects with no photo manipulation.
  • Gillette A. (Gil) Elvgren (St. Paul, MN)
    Considered one of the finest “pin-up illustrators” in the 1940’s. He graduated from University High School in Minneapolis, and continued his art studies at the Minnesota Art Institute. In 1944 he went to work for Brown and Bigelow, a calendar publisher in St. Paul, MN who offered him $1000 per pin-up, and later moved on to Coca-Cola as an illustrator in the same division that created the infamous image of a jolly faced Santa Claus in a red suit.
  • James Earle Fraser (Winona, MN)
    Sculptor. Studied at École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Created many public monuments and sculptures. Most recognized work was the statue, “End of the Trail”. Also worked as a numismatist and created the design for the Indian Head or “Buffalo” nickel in 1913.
  • Wanda Gág (New Ulm, MN)
    Illustrator/Painter/Author; Gág is often credited with giving birth to children’s picture books. Her illustrated stories were the first to use double-page spreads. She was already a critically acclaimed printmaker before her first picture book was published. Her best-known work was “Millions of Cats”, an illustrated children’s book published in 1928.
  • Annie Griffiths Belt (Minneapolis, MN)
    One of the first women photographers to work for National Geographic. She earned her B.A. in photojournalism from the University of Minnesota and started her career at the Daily Globe in Worthington, MN. Annie has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the Associated Press, the National Organization of Women, and the White House News Photographers Association.
  • Duane Hanson (Alexandria, MN)
    American sculptor. Member of the superrealist movement of the late 1960s and early 70s, Hanson produced life-sized tableaux of realistic figures and props. Works include “Hard Hat” and “Supermarket Shopper”.
  • LeRoy Neiman (St. Paul, MN)
    Illustrator/Painter; Neiman was the principal artist for Playboy magazine for over 50 years. He was a colorful character which likely had the most impact on his success as an artist. He negotiated with the city of St. Paul to build a museum to display much of his artwork, but later withdrew his $4.5 million offer because a newspaper columnist wrote that his art “stinks”. He passed away in 2012.
  • Charles Schulz (Minneapolis, MN)
    Cartoonist; Peanuts; Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cartoonists Society, 2000; Congressional Gold Medal, 2000. Last name sometimes spelled as “Schultz”.
  • Alec Soth (Minneapolis, MN)
    Photographer; He was influenced by the work of Diane Arbus. His photographs are uneasy and quite simple in terms of composition, but they tend to hint at more of a story behind the image. Soth has done photography for The New York Times Magazine, Fortune and Newsweek and his work is in many gallery collections around the world.

Honorary Minnesotans
Individuals who were NOT born in Minnesota, but have lived, studied or spent a significant part of their lives in Minnesota.

  • James Rosenquist (Grand Forks, ND)
    Raised in Minneapolis, Rosenquist was a influential painter and pop artist. He studied art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts while in junior high school and then the University of Minnesota from 1952-54. He moved to New York in 1955 and worked as a sign painter during the day. His work incorporated powerful graphic design elements along the lines of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
  • Gordon Parks (Fort Scott, Kansas)
    Parks was a seminal figure in twentieth century photography. He was a photographer, filmmaker, writer, and poet. Parks was born in Kansas but moved to Saint Paul where he spent his formative years. He made a name for himself as a fashion photographer while in Saint Paul, later becoming a photographer and reporter for Life magazine. He was a humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice.