Dayton storms out of meeting on Capitol art debate

Civil War art fuels drama in Minnesota Capitol restoration

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota's massive Capitol renovation is almost done, but what artwork will be on display when it reopens is still under debate.

Controversial artwork previously displayed at the Capitol has been a major topic since the $220 million-plus restoration began in 2014. Several controversial paintings depicting Native Americans were recently slated to be relocated after more than a year of discussion.

A commission overseeing renovations was expected Tuesday to discuss the fate of Civil war paintings previously displayed in the governor's residence room. Gov. Mark Dayton has called for their removal while some lawmakers say they should remain.

Dayton, who chairs the commission, said that it has always been a bipartisan body and he was deeply disturbed by a memo from Rep. Matt Dean calling attention to removal of the artworks.

Dayton declared that if people disagreed they could pick a new chairman. And then abruptly left the meeting, saying he would talk to the press later today.

It's one of few remaining decisions in the renovation expected to largely conclude by the end of the year.

 

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