Alison Davis Lyne Portraits of
2002 Kentucky Women Remembered Honorees for
Kentucky Commission on Women
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In the fall of 2001 I was lucky enough to be selected to paint the portraits of the 2002 honorees selected to be a part of the Kentucky Women Remembered Exhibit which is on permanent display in the Kentucky State Capitol's rotunda.
After I was notified of the award to paint the portraits, I was able to see the previous portraits that had been done for this extensive exhibit by going to the Kentucky Women Remembered Exhibit webpage. I found out that I would be hanging along side an impressive body of work by former Kentucky artist Paula Jull.
The Kentucky Commission on Women's committee for the Kentucky Women Remembered Exhibit were all most helpful in both getting the photos I needed to paint from and offering input as to the style that they felt would best fit in with the previous works, so the entire exhibit would "hang together"
The honorees were selected by the Commission, from nominations from various sources. The nomination packages included lists of past accomplishments on the part of the honorees, their contributions to the state of Kentucky and their own communities. When faced with so many fine accomplishments, for each of the recipients, I found it hard to choose just a few ideas to represent the "visual character" of these honorees. I made some color sketches for the committee to review. Upon approval of the sketches I began work on the portraits.
For Dolores Delahanty, I chose to focus on her ongoing work to help women and children's causes (read that everyone's causes) in the state of Kentucky. She was on national committees to help shape policy for various "women's issues" such as Social Security. She was instrumental in the passage of Kentucky's Fair Credit Law, and was a founding member of the National Women's Political Caucus, and co-founder of the Kentucky Women's Political Caucus. She was president of the National Women's Education fund, working to recruit and train women to run for public office and leadership positions. Ms. Delahanty was married to Judge Robert Delahanty and has four sons, one daughter and 11 grandchildren. I chose to include images of both women and children behind Ms. Delahanty's portrait, along with a credit card, and a rally hat adorned with the National Women's Caucus ribbon . Ms. Delahanty is currently Jefferson county "B" District Commissioner.
In reading about Lucille Caudill Little, I decided to focus on the many ways her support has enriched the artistic life of the Commonwealth. After growing up in Rowan county Kentucky in the 1920's, she began to use her "perfect pitch" voice as a commercial artist to make money during the Depression. This led to a lifelong interest in opera, drama, and other artistic interests. After her husband's death, she created the W.Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation. She did this to help administer the funds left to her by her late husband, a horse breeder and investor. She has donated time and money to many organizations in the state of Kentucky. I highlighted her involvement with the Kentucky Horse Park, and her husband's love of horses with the horse and rider. I referred to her support of Opera Central of Kentucky and University of Kentucky's Gignol Theater and alluding to her 1950 appearance in that theatre as Medea with the singing figure on the right. Most recently she was instrumental in creating the Fine Arts Library at the University of Kentucky, which I have shown in the background. To date Ms. Little has given more that $21 million to the area arts and education causes.
Judge Judy West was the first woman appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. She was appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1987, after being re-elected to the Kenton District Court three times without opposition. I chose to show Judge West on the bench of the Kentucky Court of appeals. She had served on the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, and the Kentucky Tomorrow Commission. She was named by the Kentucky Post as the Outstanding Citizen of Northern Kentucky in 1987. She was an active participant in many professional and community affairs. She was married to Larry C. West, a partner in the law firm of Ware, Bryson, West and Kummer, and was the mother of three children, Chuck, Jim and Nancy. She died February 19,1991. She has an annual lecture series named in her honor by the Northern Kentucky Bar Association.
After completion of the three portraits, I and my husband Frank, were invited to attend a luncheon at the Governor's Mansion in honor of the recipients, and the unveiling of the portraits at the Capitol Rotunda. We had the honor of meeting First Lady Judi Patton and Governor Patton. It was our pleasure, and an honor to be able to meet Mrs. Delahanty, and her family, and the family of Judge West. We also met Ms. Allyson Handley, out-going president of Midway College, who accepted for Ms. Little, who was unable to attend. It was a thrill to see the three portraits unveiled in the capitol rotunda.
This project has been both a pleasure and a learning experience. I have enjoyed learning about three of Kentucky's outstanding women, and hope to continue learning about good people who make a difference. I enjoy learning about people, ideas and especially history, which is after all, only the story of our lives.
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