Court settlement extends San Bernardino County Government Center exhibit, to compensate for time during which paintings had been removed.

Today NCAC and and the ACLU of Southern California were please to see the final court settlement that extends the exhibition time of three recently restored paintings at the San Bernardino County Government Center.

The extended display period will compensate for the time during which the works, by artists Armando Aleman and Efren Montiel Jimenez, had been removed.

We are pleased with the outcome not only because the work of Eften and Armando will have a chance to be seen, but because the case will give pause to public officials elsewhere when they decide to yield to some heckler’s veto and impose their prejudices on the whole community.

The paintings, which were part of an exhibit celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, were removed in September after a visitor complained they were “offensive”. NCAC and the ACLU-SC sent a public letter opposing the removal, reminding government officials of their First Amendment obligations, but there was no response.

The ACLU-SC eventually filed a lawsuit and, on December 4th, the County of San Bernardino conceded and restored the paintings. This final settlement guarantees the county will display the paintings until January 17 to make up for the time during which they were barred from the exhibit, which was originally scheduled to close on November 30.