I am here for but a short time, speaking at the university, but here is what comes to mind:
1. Folk singer: Is that what he is? Bringing it All Back Home remains my favorite Dylan album, of many candidates.
2. Rock music: The Replacements were pretty awesome for a short while. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince has an impressive body of work, with Sign of the Times as my favorite or maybe Dirty Mind, though when viewed as a whole I find the corpus of work rather numbing and even somewhat off-putting. Bob Mould I like but do not love, the peaks are too low.
3. Jazz: The Bad Plus come to mind.
4. Writer: Must I go with F. Scott Fitzgerald? I don’t like his work very much, so Ole Rolvaag is my choice.
5. Coen Brothers movie: Raising Arizona or Fargo. The more serious ones strike me as too grim.
6. Director: George Roy Hill, how about A Little Romance?
7. Columnist: The underrated Thomas Friedman, who ought to be considered one of the world’s leading conservative columnists but is not.
8. Scientist: Norman Borlaug. I hope you all know who he is by now.
9. Advice columnist: Ann Landers, most of the time she was right, much better and sharper than her sister Dear Abby, plus she coined better phrases.
What else? Garrison Keillor belongs somewhere, even though he isn’t funny. Thorstein Veblen is often unreadable but on status competition, and its Darwinian roots, he was way ahead of his time.
Overall this is a very strong state, and on top of that I feel I am missing some significant contributors with this list. Are there painters or sculptors of note from Minnesota? I can’t think of any.