Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2017

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Competition to paint Guinn’s portrait down to three finalists

CARSON CITY - Three finalists and two alternates have been selected from a field of 38 artists vying to paint the official portrait of Gov. Kenny Guinn.

And although about a third of the artists who applied are from Nevada, none made the list.

A committee that included Guinn's wife, Dema, spent seven hours reviewing at least six samples from each artist, and it took three rounds of votes to select the finalists. The Guinns will interview the finalists and select the artist.

Both Dema Guinn and committee member Michael Hillerby, a former chief of staff for the governor, said the artist must capture the governor's personal characteristics.

His wife said the portrait must bring out his "softness" and "what he is like inside," and show his deep care for the people and the state.

Hillerby said the portrait must show Guinn's "gentleness, kindness and sparkle."

Michele Rushworth of Sammamish, Wash., who painted the official portrait of former Gov. Gary Locke of Washington, was the top vote-getter.

The other two finalists are William Benson of upstate New York and Galina Perova of Salt Lake City.

Alternates are Igor Babailov of Brentwood, Tenn., and Ned Bittinger of New York City .

Susan Boskoff, executive director of the state Arts Council, said $17,500 is available to pay for the painting and the frame, and $2,500 for the artist to travel to Nevada.

The painting is expected to be completed late this year so it can be hung in the Capitol in January alongside those of other governors.