Maine labor mural flap costs $6,000

Clarke Canfield/Associated Press

A mural depicting Maine's labor history was put on public display in the atrium leading to the Maine State Museum 22 months after Gov. Paul LePage ordered it removed from the Labor Department lobby.

PORTLAND — The state paid more than $6,000 to remove, store and ultimately relocate a labor mural that Gov. Paul LePage removed from the Maine Department of Labor building lobby, officials said. Part of the cost ended up being paid by a Republican group that tried to raise money to purchase the mural.

The governor created an uproar nearly two years ago when he ordered the mural's removal because he believed it presented a one-sided view of history that overlooked the contributions of entrepreneurs.

Hidden for nearly 22 months, the mural came out of storage last weekend and is now displayed in an atrium that serves as the entryway to the Maine State Museum, Maine State Library and Maine State Archives.

The cost of crating and storing the labor mural was $530 and transportation costs were $690, the Department of Labor told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Access request. Framing and installation at the new venue added up to another $4,850, the LePage administration said. The Maine State Museum also purchase of a security camera, estimated to cost about $150, to protect the mural.

A silver lining was that framing and installation costs were defrayed by a GOP group, Aroostook Republicans, which made a donation to the Maine State Museum after unsuccessfully trying to raise enough money to pay back a federal grant so the state could take ownership of the mural.

"The money that was going to be used to buy the mural was used to put it back on display," said Julie Rabinowitz, spokeswoman for the Department of Labor.

The mural's scenes included World War II's Rosie the Riveter, a 1937 shoe strike in Maine and New Deal-era U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, among others.

Its removal led to protests and a federal lawsuit. The U.S. Department of Labor also got into the act, accusing LePage of violating terms of the $60,000 grant used to pay for most of the mural's cost.

Aroostook Republicans, which wanted to pay off the federal government's contribution, fell far short of its goal but donated $2,333 to be used as the museum saw fit, said Sheila McDonald, the museum's deputy director. Of that sum, $2,250 was applied to the mural's relocation, she said.

At its original location, the mural pieces, each about 7 feet tall and weighing 45 pounds, were bolted into drywall, McDonald said. At the new location, a new mounting system was required for the museum's granite walls, but it can be used again if it's moved, she said.

Judy Taylor, the artist who created the mural, signed off on the new arrangement, which calls for it to be displayed at its current location for three years, subject to renewal.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



Catherine Pressey's picture

Still a sad day when a Governor, thinks

it is his right and a court says he is the government When a court says he was in his rights, when what a Governor is, is someone voted into office to represent those that put him there, to spend valuable time and money into removal of the mural, in the first place shows. We the people just where he stands, and how much he cares about the workers and what they went through and continue to go through here in Maine. Seven dollars per hour is not anywhere near a livable wage. Corporations make money on the backs of those workers, and care little about if they have a chicken in the pot or just potatoes. Now this whole state of affairs created by a invisible persons letter. So our Governor says, just lets ask Marden’s employees how well they are paid. That sure would be LePages work. From what I have heard, they do not fair so well. Seems a waist of good money in all regards. What ya all think is he hoping to get re-elected and this is supposed to make us forgive his God like decision and forget who he works for. The workers of the state that put him in office. Like some have said this should have been done so different if done at all.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Maine labor mural flap costs Mainers $6,000

Mainers 13.01.20 3.11
Live and learn ? 
/s Steve

 's picture


It would of cost 0.00. if Mr, Lepage had left it alone in the first place. It was not his to remove and hide. It belongs to the people.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

It's a good thing we don't have things like a poor economy...

to be concerned with, gives us plenty of time to deal with these kinds of "issues" that do so much to increase the quality of life of average Mainers.

Bread and Circuses provided by the liberal leftists in Maine!

I'd better check with a lawyer before I move my children's photos around at my house...might face a lawsuit.


Peter Denby's picture


Don't forget the legal costs of defending the removal!

One-sided view of history?

The Labor Department .....repeat ...."LABOR" Department is charged with addressing or responding to issues important to laborers, and not those of "entrepreneurs". They are not, ever, going to celebrate the story of the "entreprenuer" and no one expects it to do so.

To get the "entreprenuers" view, one need only attend any Maine's several Chamber of Commerce meetings; local, regional and state level. These usually take place, locally, the first Monday of the month ...around the noon meal ...and only if you're invited. And, usually, labor grievances and related issues are not matters of discussion, I can assure you. And, if they were, they would not likely be at the top of the agenda unless they were responding to a strike, perhaps.

The Chamber is, in the view of some people, a mutual admiration society where the fat cats toast to each other's continuing profits in the various markets regardless of any negative impacts their respective business models may be having on their laborers or employees, who may be underpaid and overworked in far too many instances (psst ... in order to maintain profits).

No one is jumping over anyone at these Chamber meetings to address how to raise the minimum wage to $10 dollars per hour or, heaven forbid, actually pay a "living" wage of $15.00 per hour like Vermonters are now considering enacting into law.

If Mr. Lepage didn't know this part of the story, then this has to be noted by Maine's voters. If he did know this and, simply, wanted to send a message to Maine's laborers as to where they stand in his personal and political philosophy as a Republican who wants to avoid, deny or hide these serious labor issues, and murals relating to it, then this has to be noted by Maine's voters, too.

AL PELLETIER's picture

I wonder?

If Lepage would have just left it where it was until a more appropriate venue could be found for it, could all this hoopla have been avoided? Humm.

 's picture

if they would have stopped

if they would have stopped suing to have it placed back in the department of labor where about 1% of the general public got to walk past it, it would have probably been placed in the museum sooner where thousands of visitors to the museum a year get to view it.

Mark Elliott's picture

A much better place for it!

A much better place for it! Now many more people will be able to see it and it isnt overpowering the it was in its original location.

RONALD RIML's picture

Republicans wanted to 'Buy' the Mural?'

Give me a 'Freakin' Break!!!!!

Do they think it's a Prostitute or something??????

 's picture

as one of the many, many,

as one of the many, many, many, many people who have not viewed it in it's entirety, is there a prostitute in the picture somewhere? that is the oldest profession, so we say. but i'm not sure if prostitute counts as labor or entrepreneur.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Alissa : Both and yes AL

Alissa : Both and yes AL 13.01.20 15:30 ?
Keep in mind , y'all , that his own A G ( Attorney General - his ME state Lawyer ) dislikes him , very much , as does the Solicitor General , too , probably because he has succeeded in - e v e r y b o d y - in your state government with his anti-union anti everything and everybody rhetoric and dumb bullying tactics . This is just the tip of the iceberg, the anti art thing
" On April 30, Nixon asked for the resignation of H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, two of his most influential aides, both of whom were indicted, convicted and ultimately sentenced to prison. He fired White House Counsel John Dean, who went on to testify before the Senate and became the key witness against the president. Writing from prison for New West and New York Magazine in 1977, Ehrlichman claimed Nixon had offered him a large sum of money, which he declined.[20] " - wikipedia Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it . What goes around comes around . You'll pay for it eventually. The guy operates with virtual impunity , or so he thinks . The wheels of Justice grind slowly but ever so finely . Mark my words ?  h t h ? /s Steve Happy chocolate mlk jr. weekend . ! Go Pats ¡


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...