Issue 105, Summer 2007
– The theater class from Connecticut’s Wilton High School, whose principal barred them from performing a series of dramatic readings about the war in Iraq, have been vindicated. After press and protest from organizations like NCAC and the Dramatists Guild drew national attention to the controversy, several theaters – including the Papp Public Theater in New York City – hosted performances of Voices in Conflict.
– The Pentagon recently cut off access to sites including MySpace and YouTube from Defense Department-operated networks in Iraq, and issued guidelines requiring troops to seek a commander’s approval before posting a blog entry or even, in some cases, before writing a personal email. To make matters worse, the guidelines are posted on the military’s password-protected Army Knowledge Online intranet, so many of those affected by the new rules are not even permitted to read them.
– NCAC again confronted the Tennessee Arts Commission on its policy of not exhibiting nudes, this time in relation to a video display that was reportedly rejected due to partial nudity and “suggestiveness.” We are pleased to report that there is no longer a no-nudity policy at TAC and, at least on principle, work is chosen solely on the basis of aesthetic value.
– Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival ran into controversy when they covered up a video display in response to a corporate sponsor’s insistence that the work was not appropriate for its venue. NCAC has called on the Festival to clarify the guidelines for its partnership with corporate sponsors and to ensure that creative freedom is not sacrificed to corporate whim in the future.
– The Saugatuck, MI City Council voted to remove a sculpture of a nude toddler writing “Who is responsible here?” from its temporary site at City Hall, but reversed their decision under community pressure.
– New York City avoided a court battle over closing the Brooklyn College MFA show last year. The city settled the case by issuing a formal apology on the part of the Brooklyn commissioner of New York City’s parks department (who initially shuttered the show) and by paying $750 in damages to each student as well as legal costs.
– "Censorship in Schools and Libraries" is an exhibit available from our friends at the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship. The illustrated panels and accompanying text dramatize landmark censorship incidents, and are ideal for classroom and library displays during Banned Books Week. For more details, visit www.the-licac.org.
– SAVE THE DATE! NCAC’s annual Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders will be held Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. The evening includes a screening of winning shorts by young filmmakers. For more information, e-mail [email protected].