Glendenings raise funds for official portraits Foundation to fund projects for mansion

June 19, 1996|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

The midway point of his term won't arrive for six months, but Gov. Parris N. Glendening has history on his mind.

He's preparing to pose for his gubernatorial portrait -- and wealthy Maryland business people are being asked to pay the artist.

An accompanying portrait of the governor's wife, Frances Anne, and several other mansion-related projects also would be covered by contributions from business people to the recently established Government House Foundation.

"The portraits really aren't the focus," Mrs. Glendening said yesterday of the foundation. She wants to provide rotating shows in the mansion featuring Maryland artists, collections and museums. She also hopes to publish a book on the state's first ladies because, she says, their contributions to Maryland life have been underappreciated.

So far, Mrs. Glendening has located portraits of only 13 of Maryland's first ladies. She's anxious to find others and says she has discovered that other Marylanders share her interests.

"Several people have said, 'When are you getting your portrait done?' " she said. "And I've said it's going to be a while. I like to proceed slowly, set a plan and, using the portraits as an example, ask for portfolios and interview the applicants. It could be a couple-year project."

The Glendenings invited business people and others to a May 2 lunch at the mansion to explore the idea of creating the foundation, and its purposes. Included were Willard Hackerman, head of Whiting Turner Construction Co., and Pat Bonacorda, a businesswoman and Prince George's County supporter of the governor. Both, Mrs. Glendening said, are longtime supporters of the arts.

Hackerman's name is on a new wing at the Walters Art Gallery and his company has built many of Baltimore's largest new attractions. He frequently has issues pending before the governor and the General Assembly; in the recent session he fought off an effort to block his plan to build a super-incinerator in Baltimore.

To head the foundation's fund-raising effort, the Glendenings selected Hackerman and Gerard E. Evans, the leading lobbyist in Annapolis.

"I'm pleased and proud to be involved," Evans said. "He can't consider paying for portraits with public funds. They would draw and quarter him. He can't write a check, so the only alternative is to raise the money.

"These portraits are not for the Glendenings. They're not going to take them back to Prince George's County. They're for the state and future generations of Marylanders," he said.

Jody Albright, who helped Mr. Glendening raise money for his 1994 election campaign and now is a special assistant in the Department of Business and Economic Development, is helping to coordinate the project.

No fund-raising goal has been set, according to Judi Scioli, Mr. Glendening's press secretary, but others familiar with early planning put the figure at $100,000.

"At some point, the portraits will have to be done and they thought it would be good to be a little proactive," she said.

"It would be nice if public funds could support all the artistic and historical things," Mrs. Glendening said, "but they can't."

Portraits of former Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Hilda Mae Snoops, his friend and the official state hostess during the Schaefer administration, cost $20,000 each. They were done near the end of Schaefer's second four-year term and paid for with private contributions to a fund similar to the one the Glendenings are establishing.

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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