The massive renovation of the Minnesota Capitol has opened a new discussion topic: How much and what kind of art to put on the walls and in building corridors when the fix-up is complete.
Besides being the seat of state government, the Minnesota Capitol is practically an art gallery, filled with murals of historic scenes and allegorical images of virtues the building’s designers hoped to see in their leaders: wisdom, courage, integrity. But almost 110 years after the Statehouse opened, a massive renovation project has provoked a mild but deeply felt debate about the artwork, with some lawmakers hoping to update a calcified collection and others committed to leaving it unchanged. An impromptu remark by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton helped spark the discussion when he wondered during a renovation-related meeting whether his reception room really needed six paintings of Civil War scenes.
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