In Brevard County, Florida, an artist and member of the Central Brevard Art Association (CBAA), John Cielukowski, participated in the Association’s “Art in Public Spaces” initiative, which hangs art in publicly-owned buildings. For the Catherine Schweinsberg Rood Central Library, the artist submitted his painting A Mother’s Love, which depicts a mother cow with an ear tag, separated from her calf, who stands under text that describes the realities of the veal and dairy industry in somewhat harsh terms. The painting was hung in the children’s section of the Catherine Schweinsberg Rood Central Library. However, four days later, the library summarily removed the painting for being “inappropriate” without any other explanation for its removal. Mr. Cielukowski proposed moving the painting to a more appropriate library section. Still, he was told it would be inappropriate regardless of its location within the building.
As a nonpartisan organization dedicated to freedom of speech, thought, and inquiry, the National Coalition Against Censorship is concerned by this decision. Under the First Amendment, government-run institutions—which include public libraries—are prohibited from restricting access to materials based on viewpoints that are expressed in them. We urge the Catherine Schweinsberg Rood Central Library and Brevard County Board of County Commissioners to uphold this principle of viewpoint neutrality by re-inviting Mr. Cielukowski to show his contested work in the library and formalizing a policy for displaying artwork in your library that supports freedom of artistic expression.
Read NCAC’s full letter to the XXX here: Click here for a full-screen view: