HELENA – The first new painting installed in the Montana State Capitol since 1928 will be a mural honoring the history of Montana women as community builders and commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, according to former legislators Lynda Moss and Diane Sands.

Senate Bill 59, sponsored by former State Sen. Lynda Moss and former Rep. Diane Sands and approved by the 2011 Legislature, approved the project and established the process of its installation.

Women have pioneered some of the essential social institutions in Montana, founding libraries, museums, theaters, parks, schools, hospitals, shelters, labor unions and social clubs. The painting will honor these diverse roles in family life and as business leaders, educators, healthcare providers, scientists, ranchers and community builders.

Fifty-five mural painters from throughout the nation applied to be considered for the mural commission. Three semi-finalists were selected: Hadley Ferguson of Missoula, Robert Evans of Sherborn, Mass. and Janet McKenzie of Island Pond, Vt.

The public can get involved by submitting stories of remarkable women and women’s organizations to help document the significant contributions of women in the state’s history.

Projected to cost $56,000, the mural will be funded by private contributions. Both political parties have donated, and the Montana History Foundation and the Montana Historical Society are fiscal sponsors. A grant from Humanities Montana will ensure historic accuracy.

The historic Montana State Capitol has a wide variety of artwork, including paintings by Charlie Russell and Edgar S. Paxson, as well as life-size bronze sculptures of Sen. Mike Mansfield, Maureen Mansfield and Jeannette Rankin.

To learn more or get involved, visit montanawomensmural.org.