admin 1st August 2018

Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, wants your help raising money to put a portrait of the president up at the statehouse.

“We’ve all seen the news. There is no portrait of of President Donald Trump in the Colorado State Capitol … ,” Grantham said in a YouTube video he posted Tuesday. “So I’m excited to announce that we’re going to take the reins on this, and we’re going to raise the $10,000 necessary to put up Donald J. Trump’s portrait.”

Colorado’s statehouse in downtown Denver has a Gallery of U.S. Presidents on its third floor, and there’s a noticeably empty space where the portrait of No. 45 should hang. The state doesn’t pay for the portraits. It’s up to private groups to raise the money, and up until a few days ago Colorado Citizens for Culture hadn’t collected a single dime.

That’s what prompted Grantham to take on the portrait project.

He filmed a YouTube video and launched a GoFundMe campaign Tuesday afternoon. In less than 24 hours, he’d raised more than $6,500 from 124 donors.

“It’s a testament to the fact that once you let people know it requires donations and advertise it, there’s people willing to donate to get it done,” Grantham said.

He’s confident he’ll have the money before the end of the week, which means Colorado Springs artist Sarah Boardman could get started painting before the end of the summer.  Boardman took about three months to paint President Barack Obama’s portrait.

“She did a fantastic job with the Obama portrait,” Grantham said.

He’s hopeful Trump’s will be done in a similar amount of time. The Senate President would like a complete set of presidential portraits before the start of the 2019 legislative session.

The other 43 presidential portraits were actually painted by one man, Lawrence Williams.

In November 1978, a couple donated 38 of them from a collection Williams had painted called “Gallery of Presidents,” according to the state’s website.  Williams was paid to complete the set using a combination of private donations and state funds. He would have kept going, but Williams passed away before he could paint Obama’s portrait.

Grantham said he plans to donate any extra money raised by his GoFundMe campaign to Rocky Mountain Honor Flight. The group pays to fly veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the monuments dedicated to their service.

He hasn’t heard from the president about his effort to hang Trump’s portrait at the statehouse.

“I know there are folks that know folks in the White House that are keeping him informed of our situation,” Grantham said. “And I think folks there are pleased that it’s getting done.”

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