HELENA (AP) — A new sculpture on a building near downtown Helena, intended to depict key historical players in the city's history, includes a naked bordello dancer that some say bears a striking resemblance to Gov. Judy Martz.
Martz, driven in a state Highway Patrol car and accompanied by top aides, left her office in the Capitol Thursday to examine the sculptured mural.
She called it a "stretch of the imagination" that the artist sculpted her face on the naked dancer that's kicking up her heels with two other unclothed women.
"It's definitely not her," Kristine Veith, the Seattle artist who created the work, "The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Helena," said in a phone interview. "I don't think I even know what Judy Martz looks like."
She said the dancer's features were modeled after an aunt.
But some people think the woman in the 19-inch by 14-inch section of the mural on a wall outside the Great Northern Hotel is a ringer for Martz.One anonymous caller left a message at the governor's office, suggesting the mural depicted Martz, said Chuck Butler, communications director for the Republican governor, who accompanied her on Thursday's outing.
"They didn't think it (nudity) was in good taste," Butler said.
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Alan Nicholson, the developer of the Great Northern Town Center where the sculptured clay mural was dedicated in June, also has been contacted by people who think they see Martz in the mural. And workmen in the area say that scores of people stop and spot the governor's face in the mural. A director at the local art foundation involved in the project has received similar feedback.
Martz, as she saw the mural for the first time Thursday, joked, "I'm a very modest person. No one would ever see me like that. My husband doesn't ever see me like that."
Nicholson said he has had some people comment to him about the figure resembling the governor.
But he doesn't see it.
"It certainly didn't jump out at me. I don't know if it looks like her and if it does, I don't know if it was intentional. It's not some sort of practical joke."
Butler looked at the figure and concluded, "I didn't see the likeness myself."
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