Taylor's artwork belongs here in Lewiston

Artist Judy Taylor’s mural has been taken down from the walls of the Labor Department. It's done.

The best and only discussion now is where to hang the public artwork.

The Portland City Council doesn’t want it, which is fine. It doesn’t belong in Portland City Hall where it would be just one more interesting wall-hanging in a place where most Mainers will never go.

It belongs in Lewiston. We want it, we have a place for it in Museum L-A and we’re ready to take delivery now.

The mission of Museum L-A is to “document and celebrate the economic, social and technological legacy of Lewiston-Auburn and its people,” and the museum space is large enough to properly accommodate Taylor’s work.

People visit the museum to absorb the lessons of history and think about what they are seeing, and there’s a lot to see in the murals that is familiar and important to the people of L-A and surrounding areas, including a depiction of the 1937 shoe workers’ strike in the Twin Cities and the paper workers’ strike in Jay in the 1980s. Also depicted are agricultural laborers and union members, many of whom lived and worked in Androscoggin County.

The museum’s permanent exhibit is focused on the cities’ textile and shoe-making histories and the people who worked here. And, the center’s temporary exhibits, according to the museum, explore — through history and art — themes within the worker culture, including organized labor, the role of women in the workplace, child labor, changes in technology, immigration, culture and community.

Taylor’s artwork portrays these exact and important moments in Maine history and would be treasured in the Lewiston museum. It belongs here.

When and where can we pick it up?

jmeyer@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Taylor's artwork belongs here in Lewiston

Weds. 15:15 HST • We wholeheartedly agree ? She does some g r e a t stuƒƒ --> http://www.judytaylorstudio.com/
James Taylor, also . Vic Taylor from N'orleans is a good graphic artist also , yet his site is in complete at the moment <3 Alo'ha from Pahoa , /s Dr. Dosh and ohana ( including Becky Dosh - the principal graphic artist for wingshawaii.com :)

Greg Rose's picture

Put it back...

The mural belongs where it was originally intended to go - the Department of Labor.

The removal of the mural is a symptom of a much greater problem than where a piece of art should be displayed. It is a glaring symbol of Lepage's disrespect for Maine citizens. Excuse me... a symbol of disrespect to the Maine citizens who disagree with Lepage - using the results of the gubernatorial election, that would be about 68% of us.

There is a saying, (I think I first saw it on a bumper sticker actually) that has been coming to my mind pretty frequently lately...
"If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention."

Greg Rose's picture

Pardon...

Typographical error... that should have read 61% of us, not 68%.

AL PELLETIER's picture

a distraction bomb

This stupid issue really makes me wonder.
Lepage drops this mural bomb shell on us Mainers. He calls those opposed, "Idiots". Hides OUR stolen mural and heads for Tahiti. Wass up??
Why didn't he simply" man up", state his intentions and reasoning , take the heat, endure and defend the criticism, then act on logical input?
His action was kind of like putting dog poop in a paper bag on us Mainers front porch and setting it on fire, then running away leaving us to stomp on the fire. WHAT A GOVERNOR!

RONALD RIML's picture

Mural "Balanced" to present Business Leaders & Icons

Joan Braun's picture

Judy Taylor's Statement Maine Labor Mural March 30, 2011

"As the artist who created the mural, people ask me how I feel about what's
happening and what I would like to see done. Like many of the people of
Maine, I want to see the mural displayed publicly as it was originally
intended. I want people to see it and connect to Maine's labor history. The
purpose of the mural is historical, the artistic intent to honor. It belongs
to the people of Maine and needs to be accessible to them.

Painting the mural is what I have trained my entire life to do. The theme of
figure and context is what I set out to chronicle in my career as an artist.
In fact, my first painting as a child was of my grandfather on his farm in
Nebraska, in the context of his work and life. I loved seeing my
grandparents work and followed my grandmother all over her farm and rode with
my grandfather as he delivered oil around the state.

I've always had a deep curiosity and passion for my family's history as well
as our nation's history, so when in 2007 I learned that the Maine Arts
Commissions was requesting submissions for a commissioned piece of artwork
detailing the history of labor in Maine, I immediately entered the
competition.

After a competitive process, I was awarded the commission and commenced upon
a year of research, preparation of archival materials, sketches of stories in
context based on historical fact and painting the panels. I added one
personal piece which was to include my mother and father as I had lost both
of them the previous year. My father is the young Army officer and my mother
the little girl in the Frances Perkins panel. My father served as a Forward
Observer during the Korean War and was awarded a Bronze Star. He was a man
who stood by every word he spoke, every letter he wrote. It was so
heartbreaking to learn that this controversy may have started with an
anonymous letter comparing this mural to a North Korean propaganda poster.
Perhaps we should hang my father's Bronze Star for his service in Korea in
the now empty reception area of the Maine Department of Labor until the mural
is returned, as a symbol of the importance of remembering our history, and
not shuttering it away.

Joan Braun's picture

CONTRACT FOR THE MURAL

Hi Judy,

Any project of this size involved a very specific contract between the artist and the contracting parties. It has very standard art commissioning contract wording, requiring the artist to be notified before any changes of any kind were made to the mural, and required her to approve it before anything was done. She was not notified. She was as surprised and shocked as the rest of us. If you come to the press conference on Friday noon at the Hall of Flags you will hear many knowledgeable people, including lawyers, explain this issue.

 's picture

Sorry

This mural belongs in the Maine Department of Labor building. You may recommend that it be given, on loan, to the L-A Museum, however, it ultimately belongs in the Department of Labor building in Augusta. If we lose our battle to convince LePage to put the mural back, I am hopeful tht the next Governor will return it to the Department of Labor building. LePage is just showing his ignorance by removing the mural. Yesterday's visit by the business community really told us a lot yesterday. A representative from Procter Gamble was complaining there the environmental laws are not consistent from state to state. This is laughable -- of course, they are different from state to state. It is called states' rights.

Joan Braun's picture

verification

I agree that comment should not be anonymous. I also think editorials should not be anonymous.
If you require people to give their names before you print them, that should be all that is needed to prevent over-the-top comments. Your verification process is very cumbersome and cuts down on free speech.

JUDY MEYER's picture
staff

As you know, Dan, editorials

As you know, Dan, editorials are written to run in a vertical space in the newspaper and the author's e-mail runs at the bottom of the column. This editorial is one of two that appeared in today's print edition and was placed at the top of the column, so the e-mail signature is not tied to this one but is tied to the one that appeared at the bottom of the column. That's not obvious online, but is in print. I will insert my e-mail tag on the electronic version this morning so it's clear online. But, I am the author. Judy

Joan Braun's picture

today's editorial

I can not believe what has happened to your editorial board! If this was April Fool's Day, I could understand it. How can you say "When and where can we pick it up?". Don't you realize, from reading your own articles, that the artist had a CONTRACT???? That Governor Le Page did not honor the contract, THAT SHE MUST BE NOTIFIED IF THE MURAL IS TO BE CHANGED IN ANY WAY,AND HER PERMISSION MUST BE GIVEN???

So instead you say throw the rule of law and contracts out the window??? You should not be joking about this with your "when can we pick it up". This is an extremely serious legal breach. You should not be endorsing it in any way.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Joan, does moving the mural

Joan, does moving the mural constitute changing the mural? I don't see how it does, any more so than cleaning it would. I think you are stretching here. The artist was paid for the mural, and when the money changed hands, it no longer belonged to her alone.

JUDY MEYER's picture
staff

Our understanding is that

Our understanding is that Judy Taylor was commissioned to produce this piece and that it became public property once it was purchased. We're not aware of contract language that requires her to be notified if the mural is to be changed. What's the specific language?

 's picture

If that's the case

I too feel there's no need to get worked up and try to get the mural put back on some technicality. Even if there was a contract breach and the artist has a say in where it's displayed, would she really want to keep it somewhere it wasn't wanted?

As you said in the editorial Judy, this mural is relevant to the history of our towns, and should be here if it's to be anywhere.

It's a criminal waste of public time and effort that we even have to have these arguments over a mural. I heartily disapprove of the governor's actions, but I'd rather not compound his mistakes by having a long drawn out fight trying to get the mural put back.

As for the unwarranted comments equating wanting to see the mural given the best possible home under the circumstance to greed, that too is ridiculous. It's making the best of a bad situation, nothing more.

RONALD RIML's picture

"It's Done?" You fold like soggy crepe......

And now you want to reap the plunder of bullying authoritarianism.

Wait till they come for you........

 's picture

Place them ...

... where they belong - the Maine headquarters of SEIU. The murals celebrate the history of unions, not the history of labor, and all the recent hyperventilating won't change that a bit.

I agree the gov. should be creating jobs. The only way to do that is to cut taxes, red tape and especially state spending.

Mike True's picture

Art work placement

IMO the murals should be re-hung at the department of Labor in Augusta - the governor's time and energy should be spent on helping to create jobs in Maine. Glad that the L-A museum wants the murals - but we need to be careful not enable LePage to dis the working class like this.

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