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April 26, 2005
A memorial commission has selected an Anderson University artist to create a bust of the late Gov. Frank O'Bannon to be displayed in the Statehouse.
The O'Bannon Memorial Commission selected Ken Ryden at the recommendation of artists associated with the Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana Historical Society, said commission co-chairman Paul Robertson, a state representative from Depauw.
Ryden, the artist-in-residence at Anderson University, won a contract last week to complete the bronze bust by January.
The bust will cost $20,000, which has been raised privately, largely from the late governor's friends and supporters, Robertson said.
Ryden, of Yorktown, said he was impressed by O'Bannon's down-to-earth personality.
"I felt he made the high office of governor seem very accessible," Ryden said. "My big challenge is to show this in the work that I do."
Ryden said he will interview former first lady Judy O'Bannon and others who knew the governor before he begins the sculpture.
"I don't work strictly from photographs," he said. "If I'm doing a work that reflects a personality, I need to talk with people who knew him or her really well."
The bust will sit in an alcove at the Statehouse that is just outside the Democrats' door to the Senate, where O'Bannon served as a senator from his southern Indiana hometown of Corydon for 18 years. He also presided over the chamber for eight years as lieutenant governor.
O'Bannon, a Democrat, was first elected governor in 1996 and then again in 2000. He died of a stroke in September 2003 with about 16 months left in his term.