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Posted inNews

ACLU Files Discrimination Complaint After Congressional Hopeful Cancels Drag Show for Disabled Performers

| Recently, a drag show for performers with Down syndrome was canceled by Republican congressional candidate Peter Meijer. He rescinded permission for the showcase at a venue he owns in Michigan, questioning whether or not the performers could provide “informed consent.” A 20-year-old Drag Syndrome member who performs under the name Justin Bond, told the New York Times, “We deserve the right to be ourselves and be in drag. That’s what we do best.” Read the full story here.

Posted inNews

Redesigned New York License Plates Will Still Be Made by Prison Labor

| A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) confirmed to Gothamist that the new state license plates will be produced by incarcerated individuals earning 65 cents an hour. Senator Zellnor Myrie (D) told Gothamist that, “We like to call ourselves the progressive capital of the nation and we are a leader in liberty, but when we have a situation where folks who have been denied their liberty but who are still working are doing so for slave wages, I think that is a conversation that needs to be had.” Read the full story here.

Posted inNews

Artistic Director of Aichi Triennial Responds to Artists

| In response to the artists’ open letter, Daisuke Tsuda, the artistic director of the Aichi Triennial, has released a letter addressing the controversy, saying, “The closure of the exhibition was a decision to prioritize the lives of visitors and staff who were in a position of imminent danger. Our greatest respect for freedom of expression, however, has remained constant throughout.” Read the full story here.

Posted inIn Brief

Arts Advocates Help Restore Funding to Alaska’s Arts Agency

Following statewide outcry, in an emergency special session of the Alaska state legislature, representatives restored full funding to the state’s arts agency in a new budget deal with Governor Dunleavy, who did not exercise his veto power to eliminate it again. If the veto had held, Alaska would have become the first state without an arts agency. Read the original story here.

Posted inNews

Controversial San Francisco Mural Will Be Preserved, But Hidden

| The San Francisco Board of Education voted on Tuesday night to conceal, but not destroy, “The Life of George Washington” murals at George Washington High School. The 4-to-3 vote came after more than a month of intense debating between students, parents, faculty, alumni, city officials, and the public. Some had complained that an earlier vote to paint over the murals qualified as extreme censorship; others said that the murals posed an undue burden on Native American and African American students attending the school who went out of their way to avoid the paintings. Neither side of the argument was completely satisfied with the close vote. Read our earlier piece here.

Posted inNews

Baton Rouge African American Museum Vandalized After Its Founder’s Murder

| On Monday, August 12, Baton Rouge’s African American Museum was badly damaged in what appears to be an act of vandalism exactly one month after its founder was found murdered. Photos posted on Facebook show windows popped from their frames and benches flipped over. Police are investigating the incident but have not yet confirmed whether or not vandals are responsible for the destruction, which included fountains with crystals torn apart, gardens trampled over, and chairs flipped upside down. Read the full story here.

Posted inNews

Police Arrest Suspect for Alleged Arson Threat to Exhibition

| Police arrested a man suspected of making an arson threat against the Aichi Triennale, the Japan Times reported. “I will bring a gasoline container to the museum,” the threatening fax read, referencing a controversial, life-size sculpture of a “comfort woman.” Hotta was apprehended after security camera footage at a convenience store showed him using a fax machine on August 2, the same day the handwritten threat was faxed to the triennial organizers. Read the full story here.

Posted inIn Brief

72 of 90 Artists in the 2019 Aichi Triennial Object to Closure of Freedom of Speech Exhibition

| After organizers received threats of violence objecting to a statue of a Korean “comfort woman,” an exhibition at the 2019 Aichi Triennale was shuttered.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the 72 artists wrote: “We strongly object to any violent intervention by politicians into exhibits, screenings, and performances at art institutions, and the kinds of menacing acts and intimidation that drove the Triennale to close After ‘Freedom of Expression’ as an emergency measure.” Read the full story here.