On May 24, 2018, Goldenview Classical Academy celebrated the unveiling of an original work of art by Denver artist Anna Rose Bain, commissioned for the school by Hillsdale College. The 48x38” oil painting is a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln drafting his Second Inaugural Address. The unveiling was accompanied by some excellent remarks by Goldenview’s principal, Dr. Robert Garrow, and a narration of the entire address from memory by a group of the school’s 5th graders. Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, was in attendance that evening and assisted with the unveiling.
The following contains the artist’s thoughts and documentation of the complete process for creating this portrait, in the hopes that the next generation of young artists and creatives will benefit from it as an educational tool. May they be inspired to create excellent work of their own, for the benefit of us all.
I graduated from Hillsdale College in 2007 with a major in art. By this time, Dr. Larry Arnn had been president of the college for several years, and he had and still has an incredible talent for remembering every student’s name and something interesting about them.
Nearly ten years later, in the fall of 2016, Dr. Arnn visited Goldenview Classical Academy, which had only just opened the year before, and gave a talk in downtown Denver about Hillsdale College. I happened to be in the audience that night. At the end of the event, I stuck around to shake his hand. He remembered me immediately and said that he thought I should create some artwork for the charter school he had just toured that day.
I was put in touch with assistant to the principal Kate Lochner, who then helped me set up my first meeting with Dr. Garrow. When he showed me around the school in early 2017, the meeting was impactful for us both. I was blown away by the standards of excellence and classical ideals demonstrated by the academy, which so clearly aligned with my own experience as a Hillsdale grad; Dr. Garrow was thrilled with the idea of making an original piece of art to uphold those standards even more.
And so, the dialog began. Dr. Arnn, with his big-picture thinking, said simply, “Just make it great.” Dr. Garrow came up with the concept—Lincoln drafting his Second Inaugural Address, and I was the artist chosen to execute it.
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