State Capitol: On Monday, Gov Quinn and hundreds of his friends and followers, returned to the Capitol for the unveiling of his official portrait.
The ceremony marking the unveiling was largely nonpolitical, with members of the Quinn family taking different roles in recalling aspects of Gov Quinn’s early life at home, and highlights of his time as governor.
Gov Quinn was the last to speak, and continued to stay away from direct comments about Gov Rauner, but the crowd did give a strong and sustained applause, when it was noted that during his time in office, Gov Quinn signed six budgets into law.
The painting depicts Gov Quinn standing before a desk, with a host of memorabilia in the background. Those items are not there by accident, to just fill in the background.
In an interview with Gov Quinn, he told us about how each of the “found items”, a term used to reference items placed within a portrait painting, were purposely and carefully selected by the Governor. And it’s not just a handful of items, some 44 elements are included in the painting.
In the background, there’s a black and white photo of Lincoln. There’s a color photo of Gov Quinn signing an increase in the state’s minimum wage law. Below that on the desk behind the governor, is a black and white photo of the governor’s parents, when they were younger. The photo also shows Gov Quinn’s many books, each with its own story of why it’s there. And there’s a photo of the Governor’s children on desk, in the lower right of the photo.
The painting was done by William Chambers, the same artist who painted the official portraits of Gov Jim Thompson and Gov Jim Edgar. Following the ceremony, Mr Chambers told the Illinois Channel that the number of items Gov Quinn wanted to be included in the portrait, required he do some pre-arrangement that he has not had to do as much in the past. Mr Chambers said he ended up going out to buy a bookcase, so he could arrange the items in such a way that the final portrait would not seem cluttered, nor the inclusion of each item appear careless.
Indeed, the planning of the portrait was not the only thing which sets this apart from the other list of official portraits that now hang in the Capitol’s “Hall of Governors.” Gov Quinn told us he also planned on making the portrait “interactive”. If someone goes to the website, GovernorQuinnPortrait.org and downloads a phone app, then they can take their phone and when they use the lens on the phone to go over the various items included in the portrait, they’ll get a brief listing of the story behind the item, and why it was important to Gov Quinn to have that included.
The other thing that sets the portrait apart, is that Gov Quinn felt is was his duty to pay for his official portrait, where the other portraits of the governors were paid for by taxpayers.