UPDATE: MU College of Arts and Science seeks portrait artist

Friday, February 12, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 1:23 p.m. CST, Friday, February 12, 2010
The MU College of Arts and Science is seeking a new artist to commission its next donor portrait. Portrait of Kenneth Lay, a 1965 MU graduate of economics, who was the first million-dollar donor to the college, is displayed on the first floor of Lowry Hall.

COLUMBIA — The MU College of Arts and Science has announced it will commission the next portrait in its collection of paintings of major donors.

The donors, Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, made a $1 million contribution to the School of Music.

“The Sinquefields believe that new music should be a part of everyone’s life,” said Robert Shay, director of the school, in a press release. “This gift will establish the School of Music as a center for new music, a destination for the best and brightest young composers and a place where they can pursue their craft in a uniquely supportive environment.”

The portrait will be hung in Lowry Hall where six other donor portraits currently reside.

College spokeswoman Laura Lindsey said the application deadline is April 15. Artists should submit a sketch of what they’d like the portrait to look like, as well as a bid for how much money they want the portrait to sell for.

“The sketch is about creativity,” she said. “They supply the sketch by the deadline, then we choose someone, and the artist will get more specific instructions.”

Lindsey said the artist selected will have to remain somewhat consistent in creating the size of the portrait to match the others in the hall, but there is room for creativity, too.

Lampo Leong, an MU art professor, has done three of the portraits. He said he studies the person he will be painting.

“I always need to study the person. I look at photos, read background, see what they’re interested in and how he or she supported the university,” he said.

Leong did the portrait of Mary Nell Porter, who donated more than $1 million to the performing arts department. His portrait of her includes a background of Carnegie Hall in New York because the School of Music traveled there for a performance.

“That’s why background is so symbolic,” he said. “The settings are meaningful to the donors and the university because of the gestures and composition in the paintings.”

The other donors featured in the Lowry Hall gallery are:

  • Robert “Bud” Weiser and Sue Beauchamp Weiser, who donated $4.6 million to the geological sciences department to benefit research, faculty and students
  • Martha Wright Griffiths and Hicks Griffiths, who donated $1 million for the Hicks and Martha Griffiths Chair in American Political Institutions
  • Harold Kline, who donated $1.4 million to establish the Florence G. Kline Chair in Philosophy to memorialize his mother
  • Richard Miller, who donated $1 million to the mathematics department
  • Kenneth Lay, who was the first million-dollar donor to the college when he established the Kenneth L. Lay Chair in Economics with $1.1 million

The selected artist will be paid for the work. Interested artists may contact Lindsey at 884-2197 or at

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