Sammamish artist picked to paint official portrait of Nevada governor

August 16, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6:45 p.m. Aug. 16, 2010

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has selected a Sammamish artist to paint his official portrait.

The governor picked artist Michele Rushworth — the artist behind official portraits of former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, former Wyoming Sen. Clifford Hansen, former U.S. Coast Guard commandant Adm. Thad Allen and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland Michael J. Sullivan.

Rushworth outlasted finalists Ned Bittinger — a Santa Fe, N.M., portraitist — and Yardley, Pa., artist John Ennis. The state Arts Council picked the finalists from 44 applicants; Gibbons had the option to pick from any of the 44.

Rushworth has another portrait on display at the Nevada Capitol in Carson City: She painted the official portrait of former Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn.

The portrait must be painted in oils and match the style of earlier portraits. Work must be completed by Dec. 17. Nevada will pay $17,500 for the portrait and frame, plus $2,500 for travel expenses.

Gibbons, a Republican and former congressman, is due to step down in January. Gibbons fell short in a June primary election to a former federal judge.

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