So Sen. John Kennedy likes state-owned art after all

by Walter Pierce

When he was running for Congress Kennedy criticized state spending on art. Now that he's in the U.S. Senate he wants some for his DC office.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, then state treasurer campaigning for Congress, poses next to a glass sculpture at UMC-New Orleans last year.

The State Museum Board will decide next week how to act on U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s request that $300,000 in public art that was on loan to his former state treasurer office at the Louisiana Capitol be shipped to his new office on Capitol Hill.

According to Baton Rouge public radio station WRKF, the board found itself in a tight spot — between pressure from Kennedy’s office and a board recommendation finding that hanging state-owned art on non-state-owned walls would violate the board’s rules.

As WRKF reports:

An art conservator would have to go to D.C. to regularly inspect the paintings for damage. In addition, crating and shipping the art could cost as much as $15,000. And then there’s the question of insurance on the full value of the pieces.

...Committee members openly expressed their concerns with the request, not the least of which being that the American Alliance of Museums cautions it could be considered “inappropriate, unethical, and may constitute a breach of the museum’s public trust.”

Discussion then turned to a compromise: offering Kennedy giclees — high-quality digital reproductions — instead.

During his campaign for Senate last year, Kennedy made much ado about the state including in its capital outlay budget money for public art at public buildings, posting photos to social media of himself standing beside art he thought the state shouldn’t be bankrolling.