Meet the Artist Behind Cardinal Dolan’s New Portrait

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Cardinal Dolan, Faith, Media, Queens, NY, Sheen Center

By Emily Drooby

Artist, Richard Hearns’ pieces fill the walls of The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture. While all of them are beautiful, one commands the room: the new official portrait of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Hearns and Cardinal Dolan met through mutual friends.

“We have a very long [old], family connection,” Hearns explained.

Hearns grew up Catholic. His godmother, Sister Rosario Delaney, happened to have been Cardinal Dolan’s grade school principal at Holy Infant Catholic School in Missouri.

A Hearns family friend, Sister Bosco Daly, became a connection as well. She was once one of Cardinal Dolan’s teachers

“It was fascinating to me that we both had this very positive influence from these same two women all our lives, so that’s really the bridge that connects myself and the Cardinal,” said Hearns.

Now, another bridge connects the two: the art work.

Over the years, Hearns and Cardinal Dolan have met both in New York City and in Ireland where Hearns lives. The idea for the portrait came from these get-togethers.

Hearns is primarily an abstract painter. Painting a portrait became a challenge, one he was thrilled to take on.

“I went to great lengths, I poured over books, I talked to anybody I knew who was involved in portraiture, I visited Museums in Ireland, in the states, in Rome,” he said.

Now, his hard work has paid off.

“That painting was in my studio for over three years and nobody really got to see it, so now to have other people engage with the painting, from the Archdiocese from the greater New York area, I can’t put it into words really, it means a great deal to me,” Hearns said.

The portrait and other pieces from his still life collection are on display at the Sheen Center for all to enjoy. They will remain through May 22, which is when the painting will be moved to Cardinal Dolan’s home, which is not open to the public.

More video of Richard Hearns and his other projects can be found on Vimeo at