In a ceremony at the state capitol, former Illinois governor Pat Quinn unveiled his official portrait, and unlike many of the images that are featured in the building, his picture is something completely unique.
The portrait of the former governor, who served from 2009 to 2015, features references to 44 different events from his political career, including the legalization of same sex marriage in the state, and it’s intended to be an interactive piece of art rather than just a simple picture in a hallway of the capitol.
“We hope this interactive portrait will educate and activate visitors to learn about civics, pursue careers in public service, and support the causes they believe in,” the former governor said. “When you understand your rights as a citizen and learn about the history of your state and your nation, you have all the tools you need to make the will of the people the law of the land.”
In order to access the interactive elements of the portrait, the website GovernorQuinnPortrait.org was set up so that visitors to the capitol can find historical documents, videos, and other information about the various elements of the painting, according to a press release.
No funds for the portrait were provided by the state, as Quinn opted instead to raise the money from donations. The painting took two years to complete and was created by Illinois-based artist William T. Chambers.
The former governor was accompanied by members of his family, including his brother Tom, and House Speaker Mike Madigan was also in attendance for the event.
“You don’t shrink away from tough challenges, and you tell people what they need to know, not what they want to hear,” Tom Quinn said. “I think the six years that he served as governor reflect those lessons.”
Even though Quinn was defeated in his re-election bid by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2014, he is still active in advocating for all sorts of causes, and he used the portrait unveiling to remind Illnois’ citizens that he is still adamant about serving the public interest.
“When people look at this portrait, we want to remind them that every person in the Land of Lincoln has the right to stand up, speak out, and start taking action to improve our government and change the world,” Quinn said during the ceremony.
As became his signature during his time in public office, Quinn ended the unveiling ceremony with the credo that has become so closely tied to his legacy.
“I think all of those who have passed petitions for me and with me and have been with me all along the way would be disappointed if I didn’t say ‘let the will of the people be the law of the land,’” he said.