Capitol renovation sparks debate on building's art

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Updated: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 12:13:53 EST

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Besides being the seat of state government, the Minnesota Capitol is practically an art gallery, filled with large paintings and murals of historic scenes.

But almost 110 years after the Statehouse opened, a massive renovation project has provoked a mild but deeply felt debate about the artwork. Some lawmakers hope to update a calcified collection. Others are committed to leaving it unchanged.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton helped spark the discussion when he asked during a meeting whether his reception room really needed six paintings of Civil War scenes.

State Rep. Diane Loeffler, also a Democrat, says many would like to see some more recent contributions.

Rep. Dean Urdahl, a Republican from Litchfield, says the paintings should stay where they are because they are part of state history.

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