Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Defense of Artistic Freedom

This morning I had the intention of bageling as we do every weekend and working on the semantics of tomorrows presentation. (Please read as Pisces procrastination and working on scrambling details together - small stuff like the actual cube...) All of that changed with an article in our local paper about a mural in an artistic area of town that was going to be painted over due to neighbors complaints. Mind you this is the ART district.

So we went down at before 8 am to see it before it was painted over. On the way down I was formulating a protest strategy in my head. The good Frater looked at me as if I had lost what was left of my little mind. Hyped up on coffee and Jackson Browne CDs we headed down. As soon as we got there we both realized that painting over this beautiful mural was travesty of justice. A few other souls were gathered and we worked out a very impromptu plan to protest instead of sitting Shiva (sorry for my bad Hebrew spelling.

We knew right then that our day had taken a dramatically different but important turn.

When the artists who had been working for free and supplying their own paint for this 125 foot mural heard that it was going to be painted over, they "modified" their mural to express their displeasure. Their acts of definance emboldened the rest of us.

We went and gathered supplies, lawn chairs, bits from Lowes for the actual cube and headed back. The revolution may begin, but we will be comfortable for it!

Soon we were a small group of motivated souls bent on stopping this action in a peaceful way. We were a rag tag bunch at first. Just a few old hippies and a few young artists. Soon our numbers swelled to about 150. There were old ladies in Jaguars and starving artists standing side by side. Quietly protesting with our presence our moral outrage. We were all prepared to get painted over in order to make our protest heard. Soon some of the old hippies had contacted the press and the social pressure mounted.

The artists came and explained their mural to the crowd and the time for them to come and paint over it came and went. We took some group pictures and sort of toddled off to wence we came.

We went back before dinner and it was still there along with the artists. We thanked them again for their efforts and then found out that the owners had reconsidered their choices and the mural stays. For now. For the next few weeks.

This battle is far from over, but it is my sincere hope that if we can come together peacefully over art that we show progress as a people. Baby steps in the name of artistic freedom. Baby steps, but steps none the less.

Now to sleep. It will be a long chaotic day tomorrow. Peace be with you.

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