Citizens Offering New Alternatives (CONA), a midcoast non-profit organization that works to address evolving issues of peace and social justice, strongly protests the decision by Maine Governor Paul LePage to remove a 36-foot-wide mural in the state’s Department of Labor building in Augusta.
In 2007 The Maine Arts Commission selected, through a competition, artist Judy Taylor to produce art work for the new building’s lobby. In 2008 the mural Taylor created was affixed to the wall. It has 11 panels depicting scenes of Maine workers from the colonial era to the present, including a panel showing Maine’s Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve in a cabinet position — from 1933 to 1945 as Secretary of Labor in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. She was the person behind the passage of Social Security legislation, and many other work-place laws that today benefit all Americans.
Governor LePage says he is looking for another venue for the mural, but CONA believes the Department of Labor is just the right place — the place for which the work was specifically commissioned –and that’s where it should stay. The mural is not a political statement, but rather a depiction of highlights from the history of Maine workers. Also, why incur the cost of removing it, and replacing it with something else at a time of economic budget cutting measures? LePage’s decision makes no sense — and we urge him to reconsider his position.
The board of Citizens Offering New Alternatives (CONA)
Wendy Ross Eichler
George V. Van Deventer