Bare walls provided the backdrop for news conferences in the Governor’s Reception Room this week, just one of many areas still unfinished in the massive Capitol renovation.
Laborers were scattered throughout the building as the legislative session got underway last week, steadily putting finishing touches on the gleaming, newly refurbished building.
They installed placards on doors and other directional signs in corridors, did detail work on ornate columns near the rotunda and other tasks.
The governor’s office, legislators, staff and media reoccupied the building only a day before the opening of the 2017 session, unpacking boxes and setting up in new work spaces.
This reporter started on the Capitol beat after the renovation was underway, a few months after the press corps set up in temporary quarters two buildings away.
An Administration Department spokesman said six pieces of Civil War art would be back on the Governor’s Reception Room walls by late January. Recently the subject of controversy, the paintings stoked debate on whether they were appropriate for the oft-used room.
The room is a familiar backdrop on television and news photographs, and frequently the setting for news conferences and ceremonies like bill signings.
Two paintings depicting American Indians will not return to the Reception Room.
They will be moved elsewhere in the Capitol with space for “robust interpretation.”
The Minnesota Historical Society approved the art reshuffling.