One of the more interesting art events this spring is bound to be an exhibition in Madison called Art in Protest, scheduled for March 29-31, which will display works in various media “inspired” by (if that is the right word) Governor Scott Walker’s policies in Wisconsin.
While not rallying in the streets to shout their displeasure over the show, Wisconsin Republicans are, nonetheless, not amused. They may not know art but they know what they don’t like
[W]hen Rep. Steve Nass, R-Town of La Grange, got wind of the event – which was being sponsored by UW-Extension’s School for Workers – his office strongly suggested it be called off. “It’s an arts festival designed to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Wisconsin uprising,” says Nass spokesman Mike Mikalsen. “Well, maybe here in Madison that’s a great thing. But there are lots of Republicans and conservatives around the state who are still very angry about that whole thing. We just suggested that now, with all the tensions that still exist, this may not be the appropriate time for this arts festival.”
So, try again when Republicans are less…tense? Mr. Mikalsen met with organizers from the UW-Extension’s School for Workers who announced yesterday that the show is off.
It gets worse:
“Two people with knowledge of the situation contacted the Cap Times indicating they had been told Mikalsen threatened to have funding pulled from the School for Workers unless the arts festival was called off.”
Could the ongoing push to recall Governor Walker have anything to do with this?
Said Mikalsen told the paper:
“March 29 to 31 is going to be right in the heat of the recall situation, and things are going to be very tense. The state is divided. There are a lot of people who pay taxes who don’t support the protests. There are a lot of them that do, but is this something that UW-Extension wants to be sponsoring? We just said, ‘Look, you can’t be running events celebrating the protests, which were heavily aimed at Republicans, and then expect that Republicans are going to smile nicely and sit down and try and work issues out with the university.’ “
Would now be the wrong time to bring up the First Amendment? Meanwhile, put down that paint brush and no one will get hurt.