Michele Rushworth

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Rushworth with Governor Geringer and Governor Sullivan. (Governor Hansen is currently 95 years of age and was
unable to attend the ceremony due to health reasons.)

Michele Rushworth’s three Wyoming Governor’s portraits were unveiled on October 3rd in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Her official portraits of former Governor James Geringer, former Governor Michael Sullivan (who was also Ambassador to Ireland) and former Governor Clifford Hansen (who was also a U.S. Senator) were unveiled in the State Capitol building by current Governor Dave Freudenthal.

Some comments about the portraits:

“I was blown away…. I couldn’t be happier.” — Governor Michael Sullivan

“Outstanding, unbelievable… it captured him completely.” — Brad Mead, son of Governor Clifford J. Hansen

“A beautiful job, Michele.” — Governor James Geringer

“The paintings look terrific!” — Liliane Francuz, Art Curator, Wyoming State Museum

News Coverage:

Oct 3
Jackson Hole Star Tribune
Tradition of hanging former governors' portraits in state capitol rotunda resumes

Star-Tribune capital bureau

CHEYENNE -- When former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer arrived for his official portrait sitting, he was carrying one of his best suits -- but he secretly hoped the artist would let him wear what he had on: his trademark vest, cowboy hat and bolo tie.

The artist, Michele Rushworth of Sammamish, Wash., was more than accommodating.

"I didn't want this to look like a portrait of a businessman from Connecticut, I wanted this to look like a Wyoming governor," said Rushworth, who insisted Geringer stay true to his western roots for the portrait.

"He came to the sitting in what I imagine as the perfect Wyoming governor clothing attire," Rushworth added.

On Friday, Geringer joined former Gov. Mike Sullivan and the families of three other former Wyoming governors in the state capitol rotunda for the unveiling of five official gubernatorial portraits.

Such portraits were a tradition in Wyoming until the late 1980s, when tight state budgets and confusion over who was supposed to pay for the portraits ended the era.

Last year, the state Legislature appropriated funds to resume the practice, and to commission the portraits that were neglected during the lapse. The likenesses of 14 former governors will be painted over the course of the coming years, in reverse order.

Future governors, including Gov. Dave Freudenthal, will sit for portraits as they leave office, said state Sen. Jayne Mockler, D-Cheyenne, who helped coordinate the effort.

A few dozen former first-family members and current elected and appointed state officials also attended Friday's ceremony. Geringer and Sullivan both said they were grateful to be memorialized and pleased with their portraits.

"It looks like me, so I don't know if that's good or not," joked Geringer, who served as governor from 1995 to 2003, and now works from his home in Wheatland for a California-based technology company.

"It's nice to know that some years down the road, when your children or grandchildren have the need to know what you looked like in this stage of your life, they can come and view a professionally done portrait," added Sullivan, who served from 1987 to 1995 and today is an attorney in Casper.

Former Gov. Clifford Hansen, who served as governor from 1963 to 1967 and retired to Teton County, could not attend the ceremony. His grandson, former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead, read a speech prepared by Hansen.

Also unveiled Friday were portraits of late Govs. J.J. "Joe" Hickey, who served from 1959 to 1961, and Stanley K. Hathaway, who served from 1967 to 1975. Members of their families were on hand for the unveiling.

Artist Rushworth pained the portraits of Geringer, Sullivan and Hansen. Salt Lake City artist Galina Perova painted the portraits of Hickey and Hathaway.

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