Saint Paul Winter Carnival Button Designs 2024

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival proudly introduces Kao Lee Thao as our 2024 button artist. Kao Lee’s journey as an artist is deeply rooted in her Saint Paul upbringing, particularly in the vibrant neighborhood of Frogtown. From her earliest days, the Winter Carnival held a special place in her heart. Even after her family relocated to the suburb of Savage, her family continued to return to the enchanting ice sculptures, captivating parades, and mesmerizing fireworks of the Winter Carnival. These memories have left a magical mark on her.

Kao Lee’s artistic pursuits took an unexpected turn as she followed her passion, veering away from her initial dream of becoming a psychiatrist. Today, she is a partner of Folklore Studio, a 3D animation company that creates animations for television and film. Her artistic journey began when she first picked up a paintbrush, transforming her world forever. Her boundless inspiration flows from dreams and personal experiences, igniting her creative fire. The opportunity to design the 2024 buttons for the Winter Carnival was a personal and professional thrill.

Kao Lee’s artistic contributions extend beyond buttons to encompass stunning public art installations. Her work includes the Springboard for the Arts Fiberglass installation, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s, Parks for All at Boom Island mural, and the mural at Mississippi Creative Arts. She is currently working with the United Family Medicine history wall in Saint Paul and even invited the community to join her in painting during a movie in the park event hosted by Saint Paul Parks and Recreation.  Kao Lee’s love for Saint Paul is evident all around the community- and now in the 2024 Saint Paul Winter Carnival buttons!