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Contributed by Arizona Capitol Museum
The Arizona Heritage Commemorative Portrait Collection was generously donated to the Arizona State Capitol Museum in October 1982 by the Chris-Town Chamber of Commerce and the merchants of the Chris-Town Shopping Center. This collection was commissioned by the merchants of the Chris-Town Shopping Center for the enjoyment of all Arizonans. These 24 original oil-pencil portraits by Roger Whitney honor people who contributed to the growth and development of Arizona. Each picture reflects the person's major area of interest and influence on our state's heritage. Chris-Town gratefully acknowledged research assistance from the Central Arizona Museum of History, the Arizona State Capitol Museum and the Arizona Department of Education. The research helped determine the interests and contributions of each of the subjects. Whitney, a well-known Phoenix artist, often worked from photos to portray both Arizonan and national sports figures in his work.
Sets of 9"x12" reproductions of the Arizona Heritage Commemorative Portrait Collection along with a 750 word biography were offered for a $1 donation. A limited quantity of registered, hand-signed full size reproductions could be purchased for $250 per set. The proceeds were to go to the Arizona Heritage Scholarship Fund, which would provide college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who demonstrated an active interest in Arizona history.
The sets were available at the Chris-Town administrative offices, 1703 W. Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, AZ 85015. Unfortunately none of the offered sets are currently available.
The following was adapted from the August 20, 1981 news release (included in the collection) announcing the unveiling of the portraits.
The original portraits were displayed at the shopping center from August 24 through September 30, 1981 as part of the 20th anniversary of Chris-Town Shopping Center, the nation's first enclosed shopping mall. As part of the celebration reproductions of the portraits and biographies of each subject were distributed to every school in Arizona.
The Arizona State Capitol Museum, now known as the Arizona Capitol Museum, hopes that by publishing this collection of oil pencil portraits by Roger Whitney the legacy of the Chris-Town Shopping Center will be honored as they honored 24 of Arizona's notable "leaders from the fields of education, agriculture, politics, religion, the military and several representatives from Indian cultures."