The process for selecting and placing public art is a democratic one, especially when it is paid for by public money as Judy Taylor’s “History of Maine Labor” mural was, under the Percent for Art Program.

With a little research online, I discovered that the Maine Arts Commission released a Request for Proposals (RFP), which resulted in more than 100 submissions. The commission then oversaw the process whereby Taylor, a Maine artist, was selected out of three finalists by a volunteer panel of arts professionals and community members.

The artist spent a full year designing and crafting the 7-foot-high by 35-foot-long mural.

She and Charles Scontras, a professor of history at the University of Maine, spent untold hours researching Maine’s labor history.

News reports from the time of the mural’s installation in the summer of 2008 describe it as a source of pride and inspiration for staff at the Department of Labor.

The subject matter is a visual montage representing factual moments in the history of labor in Maine. It is an aesthetically excellent, beautifully crafted work of art.

Where is our democratic process when a few anonymous complaints can undo all of that? Why are the voices of the hundreds of Maine citizens protesting the mural’s removal being ignored?

Our mural needs to be returned to the space it was designed for.

Deborah Fahy, executive director

Harlow Gallery

Kennebec Valley Art Association


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