Some decisions to take down artwork after individual complaints are made hastily and put government officials in a precarious situation. In such cases it is crucial for supporters of free expression to speak up! A recent case proves this point:
In February 2007 the Mansfield Community Center in Mansfield, CT removed three pieces of art on display at its premises in response to complaints. One, a photo collage by artist George Jacobi depicting images of the American flag, was the subject of a complaint by an Air Force veteran who claimed it was offensive and unpatriotic. Two sculptures by artist Eda Easton prompted a complaint by a local mother who saw them as sexually suggestive.
In a victory for free expression, town officials agreed to restore the artworks to display after protests from NCAC (see our letter below), the artists and many Mansfield residents. They also accepted NCAC’s offer of assistance in drafting appropriate art exhibition policies and selection procedures for the display of artwork in public buildings.
We commend Mansfield town officials for having the courage to reconsider their initial hasty decision and for demonstrating their respect for free expression.
NCAC’s letter to the Mansfield Director of Parks & Recreation
To see Eda Easton’s sculptures: http://www.edaeaston.com/BeamSeries01.html