Late yesterday, Hyperallergic posted an article by Claire Voon about the unannounced removal of a publicly funded street mural in Jersey City on Monday. The artwork generated a lot of controversy during its brief existence, due to protest by a handful of community members over some of its contents; subsequent demands made by city officials that artist Mr. AbiLLity make edits to the original, city-approved design; and accusations that a local real estate developer had pressured the mural program’s director to have his company’s name included in the project’s Monopoly-inspired imagery. VCS faculty member Amy Wilson—who followed the project closely and recently had a critical letter about the city’s mural program published in The Jersey Journal—is quoted extensively in the article. In her comments to Hyperallergic, Wilson discusses the program’s lack of transparency and community input, the need for better planning and organization in the future, and her skepticism over the city’s current proposal for a remedy to these problems.
In addition to Wilson’s comments, the article includes images from the project and its aftermath, and comments from Mr. AbiLLity taken from a recent interview with the National Coalition Against Censorship. (For additional onformation and context, check out the NCAC’s letter to Jersey City mayor Stephen Fulop about the controversy, and this Jersey Journal article by reporter Terrence McDonald.)
If you’re interested in the issues of public art management, censorship, and/or community involvement in the arts, Voon’s article and the additional pieces linked above are well worth reading.