Stevens’ portrait to be unveiled today

Stevens' portrait will hang on the second floor of the State Capitol, near this plaque.

A portrait of the late Sen. Ted Stevens to hang in the Alaska State Capitol will be unveiled today (Friday).

Juneau Rep. Cathy Munoz says the idea came from Juneau resident and long-time legislative staffer John Manly. Munoz helped put all the pieces together, including funding approval by the Legislative Council, working with Stevens’ family to select an image for the portrait, and selecting an artist.

She says it took only eight months from idea to portrait, which has been painted by Alaskan artist Dean Larson, son of the late Rep. Ron Larson of Palmer.

Unlike other state expenditures, art work does not have to go through the competitive bid process, but can be selected by those commissioning the work, according to Munoz. she says Larson’s name kept coming up.

“In fact he was, at one time, on the staff of Sen. Stevens and had a very high regard for the senator,” Munoz says. “So it was a wonderful choice.”

She says all of the pieces came together when the Stevens’ family and Legislative Council chair, Sen. Linda Menard, suggested Larson. “It was like all of the indicators were pointing to him as the artist.”

Larson was raised in Alaska and was a student of famous Alaska artist Fred Machetanz.

Larson and Stevens’ wife Catherine will speak during the unveiling this evening, scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Alaska State Museum.

The portrait will eventually hang on the second floor of the state capitol, between the House and Senate chambers. A small plaque commemorating Stevens now hangs near the eventual location of his portrait.

Stevens served Alaska in the U. S. Senate for 40 years, and was in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1965 through 1968.

He died in a plane crash in Southwest Alaska in 2010.