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First Lady MK Pritzker Opens Her Door to Illinois' Cultural Community, Honors Artist Richard Hunt

Press Release - Thursday, April 20, 2023

SPRINGFIELD—Illinois First Lady MK Pritzker will host a cocktail reception at the Governor's Mansion the evening of Monday, April 24, 2023, to welcome Illinois' cultural leaders attending the "One State Conference and Capital Day" in Springfield. Inside, the First Lady will deliver a proclamation honoring world-renowned sculptor Richard Hunt and will declare April 24, 2023, Richard Hunt Day in Illinois.

"Richard Hunt reflects the best of Illinois- a creativity, passion, and care for community and public spaces that makes art accessible to all," said Illinois First Lady MK Pritzker. "We celebrate and recognize his work and are deeply grateful that he has contributed one of his creations to the Governors Mansion, giving our many visitors an opportunity to experience his work for themselves. Richard Hunt Day serves as a call to all Illinoisans to look beyond the conventional and tell their own stories, no matter the medium."

"The artists of our state tell the story of generations of struggle, passion, and culture, and I'm thrilled that the Governor's mansion can uplift and recognize those contributions," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Richard Hunt's addition is the most recent in a long tradition of incredible Illinois artists MK and I are proud to honor."

Richard Hunt was born and raised on Chicago's South Side, where he began a prolific career as a sculptor and artist. Over 150 of Hunt's public sculpture commissions grace prominent locations in 24 states and Washington, D.C. Hunt has held over 150 solo exhibitions and is represented in more than 100 public museums across the globe, from California to Maine, Detroit to Birmingham, and Vienna to Jerusalem. Mr. Hunt's "Hybrid Muse" was commissioned by the Illinois Arts Council in 1985 to honor the 20th anniversaries of the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, and today the stylized depiction of the "Hybrid Muse" serves as the logo of the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The "Hybrid Muse" sculpture is also given to recipients of the Governor's Awards for the Arts.

The reception will also showcase the renovated Governor's Mansion and art collections curated by the First Lady with assistance from the Illinois State Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The diverse array of artists selected for display includes such greats as renowned Chicago Imagist Karl Wirsum, multi-media artist Theaster Gates, and surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie. In addition to these displays, Richard Hunt was commissioned to create a stunning sculpture specifically for "The Lincoln Parlor," which has hosted presidential meetings and served as an office space for Illinois Governor's since the 1880s. Outside, the lawn of the mansion will feature Founders; a mobile monument and collaboration between Floating Museum, Chris Pappan (Kanza/Osage, Lakota) and Monica Rickert-Bolter (Potawatomi/African-American/German).

The monument is a mix of interpretations of items from the collections of the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Field Museum of Natural History, as well as interpretations of various historical figures. The busts reference Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (Chicago's first non-indigenous settler), Kitihawa (du Sable's Potawatomi wife), Harold Washington (first African American Mayor of Chicago), and a bust of a young boy by artist William Artis. The pattern on the inflatable monument was inspired by Potawatomi textiles in the Field Museum collections.

The One State Conference, taking place on April 24, is a collaboration between the Illinois Arts Council Agency and Arts Alliance Illinois. The entire One State event, including Capital Day on April 25, will attract hundreds of Illinoisans working in arts and culture for conversations, performances, exhibitions, presentations, and networking. The conference provides an opportunity to share resources, build and strengthen networks within the arts and culture sector in Illinois, and support emerging artists and arts leaders. The Capital Day will be a day of action allowing attendees to make their priorities and needs heard by decision makers in Illinois. As the first in-person One State since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2023's event will focus on attendees being in community with one another.

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