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Former Gov. Neil Abercrombie Photo: Civil Beat

Abercrombie Picks Maui Artist to Paint His Official Portrait

Former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has chosen Maui artist Kirk Kurokawa to paint his official portrait, according to a spokesman for the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

All governors dating back to Sanford Dole, who served from 1900 to 1903, have had their portraits painted.

Portraits of the last six governors — John Waihee, Ben Cayetano, Linda Lingle, George Ariyoshi, John Burns and William Quinn — now hang in the ceremonial room in the governor’s office at the Capitol.

“It’s kind of unbelievable,” Kurokawa said Tuesday when asked how he felt about being chosen. “I’m just really honored. Being from Hawaii, it leaves me kind of speechless.”

The budget for Abercrombie’s portrait is $40,000, which covers $35,000 for the artist’s fee, which includes framing and shipping, and $5,000 for an unveiling ceremony slated for next summer.

Abercrombie and his wife, former First Lady Nancie Caraway, were expected to have picked an artist by Dec. 31 under the initial timetable. But the arts foundation, which is overseeing the project, struggled to connect with the former governor, who had been busy traveling and starting a consulting company in Chinatown.

Abercrombie narrowed the initial list of 46 artists down to seven by July. He and his wife interviewed the final two candidates recently before deciding on Kurokawa.

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