Released September 26, 2023

Artist Sought to Paint Governor’s Official Portrait

INDIANAPOLIS — The tradition of Hoosier artists creating portraits of Indiana’s governors dates back more than 150 years. Now, the state has opened the search for the next artist to join that tradition and paint the official portrait of Gov. Eric Holcomb for the historic Indiana Governors’ Portrait Collection.

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is accepting applications online through Oct. 23 and will coordinate the selection process to determine the painter who will receive the honor of the commission. Once complete, the approximately 42-inch by 32-inch oil or acrylic painting will become the 55th portrait in the collection, which is managed by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

To be considered, artists must be a resident or native of Indiana or a graduate of an Indiana institution of higher learning. Preference will be given to Indiana residents. Additionally, artists will need to visit and submit an application that includes the following:

  • Resume or curriculum vitae, which should include past portrait experience and commissions, a list of their work in public collections, past exhibitions and art training.
  • An artist’s statement about their approach to portrait painting. Specific ideas about this commission may also be included but are not required.
  • Six to 10 digital color samples of their portrait work, including some detail, to be uploaded to the application website.
  • A proposed dollar amount required for the commission. The cost of framing should not be included in the artist’s fee.
  • Contact information, including email and mailing addresses and phone numbers.
  • Applicant’s schedule must be flexible and open to travel. All travel costs will be reimbursed.
  • Questions about the application process should be directed to Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Chief Curator and Research Officer Susannah Koerber at [email protected] or 317-233-1991.

All applications will be reviewed by a panel that includes representatives from the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Office of the Governor, professional artists and curators. The panel will select the finalists based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence.
  • Previous experience with portrait commissions.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully complete the commission.

The announcement of the chosen artist is anticipated by Jan. 31, 2024. The new painting is expected to be complete by late summer 2024 and the unveiling of the official portrait is planned for fall 2024.

The artist’s commission and framing of Holcomb’s portrait will be paid through private funding, as done in years past. Any remaining funds will be maintained by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites for the preservation and exhibition of the Indiana Governors’ Portrait Collection.

The state’s first official gubernatorial portrait was created in 1869 for then-Gov. Conrad Baker, and every Indiana governor before and since has been commemorated on canvas. Many of the 54 portraits currently in the collection are on display in the offices of the statehouse.

The artist chosen for this commission will join the esteemed ranks of notable Hoosier painters, including T.C. Steele, Marie Goth, who was the first woman to paint an Indiana governor’s official portrait, and Mark Dillman, who created the last painting added to the collection in 2017 — that of former U.S. Vice President and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

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The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is a statewide museum system with 12 locations, offering visitors a chance to engage with Indiana’s past and present and see how their actions help shape the future. At each location, visitors are invited to explore big questions and create lasting experiences that will resonate long after each visit ends. Whether interested in art or architecture, history or science, there’s something for everyone and every interest. The Indianapolis museum is located in White River State Park in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. The historic sites are located across the state, stretching from Rome City in northeastern Indiana to Evansville in the southwest.