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State Arts Council Announces Governor Carcieri Official Portrait Artist Chosen

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts announced today that Governor Donald L. Carcieri has selected Rhode Island artist Harley W. Bartlett to create his official portrait. Bartlett, of Hope, RI, was chosen from among 79 artists who applied late last year as part of a national search conducted by the State Arts Council.

State law requires that an official portrait be commissioned for each Governor before he or she leaves office. The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts assisted the Governor in managing the process of securing and reviewing applicants for this commission. The fee for this commission is $15,000, the same fee paid for the official portrait of former Governor Lincoln Almond.

"Commissioning a portrait of a governor is an important event in the life of Rhode Island," said Randall Rosenbaum, director of the State Council on the Arts. "Art is the way society preserves its history. Great art tells a great story, and walking through the halls of the state house, you experience the history of Rhode Island."

Rhode Island artist Harley W. Bartlett agreed. "When you stop to think about the number of governors our state has had, to be chosen to paint the official portrait of a governor is a great honor," said Bartlett. "It's been a particular pleasure to work with Governor and Mrs. Carcieri on this project. They have been very engaged in this project from the beginning, and they understand how important these portraits are as part of the history of our state."

Harley W. Bartlett of Hope, RI, was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania. A Long admirer of the American Beaux - Arts school of Art and Architecture in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bartlett started his gallery career on a local level in southeastern New England as an apprentice in studios such as Evergreene Painting Studios and American Illusion. Bartlett was soon restoring, reviving and recreating murals in State Houses, Theaters and casinos throughout the United States. The Renowned New York artist Richard Haas took note of Bartlett's abilities and soon had him execute his designs for large-scale Trompe L'oeil murals. To date his fine art paintings may be found in many area and regional galleries. More information can be found at Bartlett’s website at

The portrait is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, and will be ready for an official unveiling just after Governor Carcieri leaves office.

About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

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  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
  • Online:
  • Release date: 08-11-2010

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