Three finalists picked for Guinn's official portrait

A committee organized by the Nevada Arts Council has selected three finalists and two alternates in the competition to paint Gov. Kenny Guinn's official portrait.

When completed, the portrait will hang with those of all Nevada governors in the state Capitol.

The artists' names, resumés and samples of their work will be forwarded to the governor and first lady Dema Guinn for the final selection.

Altogether, 38 artists applied for the commission.

The finalists are Michele Rushworth, of Sammanish, Wash.; William Benson, of New York; and Galina Perova, of Salt Lake City.

Rushworth recently completed the official portrait of Washington state Gov. Gary Locke. Benson has numerous portraits of business and community leaders to his credit, including the CEO of Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Perova has painted several mayors and the former president of the University of Utah.

Two alternates were also named: Igor Babailov, of Brentwood, Tenn.; and Ned Bittinger, of New Mexico.

The total budget for the project is $20,000. The commission maximum is $17,500 for the painting, frame and hardware to hang it. The remaining $2,500 is for the artist's traveling expenses to complete the portrait. The portrait must be oil, painted, and framed "in the same manner, style and size" as the existing portraits in the Capitol.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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