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Former Gov. Granholm's portrait to be unveiled May 6 at Michigan Capitol


Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm talks about her eight years in office during a year-end interview Dec. 10, 2010, at the state Capitol in Lansing.


LANSING, Mich. — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's official portrait will be unveiled May 6 in a ceremony at the Capitol, spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Friday.

Ferndale artist Charles Pompilius has completed the portrait he began working on last year. His portraits use light and symbols to reveal something about his subjects, and Granholm's portrait will include symbols marking her accomplishments during her eight years in office, Boyd told The Associated Press.

The Democrat was Michigan's first elected female governor, and her portrait will be the only one of a woman among the governors' portraits hanging in the Capitol. She first served as attorney general before winning the governorship in 2002. She and her husband, Dan Mulhern, are writing a book about governing Michigan, which during her two terms suffered through an unprecedented economic downturn as the domestic auto industry downsized and restructured.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to speak at the ceremony, according to his spokeswoman, Geralyn Lasher. Snyder succeeded Granholm, who couldn't run again because state law limited her to two terms.

The hour-long unveiling ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. and be followed by an invitation-only luncheon, Boyd said. A bipartisan nonprofit foundation has been raising the money for the portrait, the frame and the Capitol ceremony.

Granholm's portrait is being displayed much sooner after she left office than those of her immediate predecessors.

Republican Gov. John Engler's portrait wasn't unveiled until June 2005, two-and-a-half years after his three terms in office. The portrait of Democratic Gov. James Blanchard wasn't unveiled until June 1998, seven-and-a-half years after his two terms ended.

Engler's portrait shows him holding the blueprint for the restoration of the Capitol, one of his legislative accomplishments. Other objects in the painting include books that influenced him, a framed photograph of his family, a brass elephant representing the Republican Party and a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

Blanchard's portrait included a vase of red maple leaves symbolizing his three-year stint as U.S. ambassador to Canada and a toy car representing his role in the Chrysler bailout while he was a congressman and Michigan's economic recovery while he was governor in the 1980s.

Boyd declined to say what symbols will be included in Granholm's portrait. The artist and Granholm's family are expected to attend the ceremony, along with many former department heads and members of her administration.

The Capitol ceremony is open to the public.

Pompilius has been painting for 30 years and full-time for the past decade after he won a grant from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation. He is represented by the David Klein Gallery in Birmingham, which focuses on postwar American art. In discussing his work on Granholm's portrait last year, he said a portrait is a lot about the person being portrayed.

"Something comes out that brings a spirit to the work. That's what we're looking for. That's what we're hoping for," he said.

Granholm is working with the Pew Environmental Group as a senior adviser to promote its efforts to promote clean energy policies and is a regular contributor to NBC's "Meet the Press." She recently was elected to the Dow Chemical Co. board of directors.

She and her husband have a two-year academic appointment at the University of California-Berkeley, where Granholm earned her bachelor's degree.

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