JFK Memorial Portrait on Display in TLC
As the nation remembers the 47th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, one of the most famous and emotional portraits of the Kennedy family can be viewed at South Florida Community College. The John F. Kennedy Memorial Portrait was painted by Ronald Keyes in Tucson, Ariz. following the assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. The portrait has been displayed around the United States including two democratic national conventions and in the Library of Congress. It has also been reproduced and distributed across Europe.
Keyes had close ties to the Kennedy family prior to painting the portrait. He was a teacher at the base of the United Nations and taught art to many dignitaries, including Jacqueline Kennedy. “When Ron painted this portrait, he didn’t stop until he finished it,” said his wife, Lori Keyes. “It was his way of dealing with the tragedy.”
Although the Kennedy family requested that Keyes donate the painting to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, he instead donated it to South Florida Community College in 1997. “John’s brother, Bobby Kennedy, even said the portrait was the best likeness of John he had ever seen, but Ron loved Sebring and wanted to keep it in the area,” said his wife, Lori Keyes.
Ronald Keyes died in May 2010. He was involved in the Sebring art community and helped create the Main Circle Gallery and School of Art. The portrait is a part of the McDearman Collection of art at SFCC, and can be viewed on the first floor of the SFCC Tutoring and Learning Center, Highlands Campus.
For more information, contact Cathy Futral, SFCC art professor, at 863-784-7195