First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady announces donation of murals for Capitol Rotunda

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 10, 2009  
Contact Information:  Sarah Baird

Murals are the Capitol Centennial Commission’s Legacy Project, will be in place for 2010 Capitol Centennial Celebration

FRANKFORT, Ky. — First Lady Jane Beshear today unveiled plans for four privately funded murals to be added to the Kentucky State Capitol’s Rotunda in time for the majestic statehouse’s 100th birthday. The Kentucky Capitol Centennial Commission, administered by the Finance and Administration Cabinet’s Division of Historic Properties, selected the pendentive murals as its legacy project for the Capitol’s Centennial Celebration in June 2010.

The murals are a gift from private donors Marion and Terry Forcht of Corbin, Ky. to the Kentucky Executive Mansions Foundation Inc. (KEMFI).  KEMFI is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance, preserve and maintain all historic properties owned by the Commonwealth.  The murals project is the largest single donation in the history of the Capitol.

“Murals were included in the original design concept for the Capitol Rotunda when construction was completed on the building in 1910, but lack of funding and twists of fate had caused the framed pendentive corners of the dome to remain bare until now,” said Mrs. Beshear.  “This generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Forcht is just in time to celebrate our Capitol Centennial Celebration in 2010, but the legacy of these historical murals will continue to be celebrated by so many generations of Kentuckians.”

“Terry and I are proud to have this opportunity to be part of the centennial celebration honoring Kentucky and its beautiful Capitol building,” said Mrs.Forcht.  “Kentucky is a state of both opportunity and great beauty. We are very proud to say we are Kentuckians.”

Mr. and Mrs. Forcht own Forcht Bank and Forcht Group of Kentucky, a management services company comprised of 95 separate companies and over 2,100 employees with headquarters in Lexington and Corbin.

“The addition of the murals in the Rotunda is truly a historic milestone for our Commonwealth,” said Jonathan Miller, Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary.  “They will represent Kentucky’s proud heritage for all visitors to the Capitol to enjoy and, thanks for Mr. and Mrs. Forcht, at no cost to our citizens.”

EverGreene Architectural Arts of New York City will complete the project.  EverGreene is internationally recognized as the premier resource for complex new interior and exterior artwork projects, from design through installation.

“The murals will be designed to be of our time and yet timeless: they will look, effectively, as if they were meant to be in Kentucky’s State Capitol Building and always were in the State Capitol Building,” said Jeff Greene, president and executive project director of EverGreene Architectural Arts.

The four themes of the murals will be agriculture, industry, civilization and integrity.  The design is expected to be finalized by the Capitol Centennial Commission and the Historic Properties Advisory Commission within the next 12 weeks.  The project will be completed with murals in place by June 2010.  Initial work will begin immediately.

In 1910 local newspapers reported that Frank Millet, the former overseas war correspondent and sketch artist who later won some widespread fame for his work on murals in public buildings, had planned to come to Frankfort to discuss designing or working on the murals.  Millet had been a Harvard classmate of then-Kentucky Governor Augustus Willson.

Unfortunately, Mr. Millet died on the ill-fated Titanic and it is uncertain if a discussion of the murals with Gov. Willson ever occurred.  The Millet mystery is just one of a century’s worth of unfulfilled attempts and misfortunes that have prevented the addition of these four murals in the Capitol Rotunda.