Gov. Bill Haslam made a pit stop in Knoxville today to see his official mayoral portrait unveiled in the City County Building this afternoon.
John Woodrow Kelley painted the former mayor's portrait. In (current) Mayor Madeline Rogero's introductory remarks about the artist, she mentioned he uses lots of Greek mythology to inspire and influence his work.
"I was really hoping for the Greek god look," Haslam said jokingly as he addressed the audience.
Kelley said he was honored to paint the governor's portrait, of course, and added, "I owe everything to Knoxville."
The University of Tennessee alum still has a studio in town and another in New York City.
Dan Brown, who's currently a city councilman and served as interim mayor when Haslam was elected governor, also had his portrait unveiled this afternoon. Brown thanked his wife and multiple family members who were in attendance for their support, and he also thanked the artist of his portrait, Carl Hess.
"It took a great imagination, but he made me look good," Brown said.
On a more serious note, Brown addressed the historical significance of the unveiling of the portrait of Knoxville's first African American mayor in the presence of its first female mayor.
"We are reaching a time in history where race or gender should not and will not be a hindrance," he said.
Hess, the artist, has been painting portraits since 2001, and the list of people he's painted includes Barack Obama and mega-church pastor Joel Osteen. Hess is also a UT graduate.
"I'm blessed that Mayor Brown let me paint his portrait," he said.
Aside from Haslam and Brown, former mayors Randy Tyree and Victor Ashe (who served as ambassador to Poland from 2004-2009) were there to see the new portraits. The City of Knoxville website has an online photo gallery where you can see all of the city's mayors' portraits.