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Red Hook has its second mural controversy

Sep 15, 2020 6:31 am
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman artist Susan Foltin Rohrmeier is contemplating legal action against the Red Hook Library after the mural that she and other artists created for the Children's Learning Garden was painted over in 2019. "I am extremely heartbroken, but I feel like anything I say is secondary because the law is supposed to protect these things from happening," Rohrmeier said. "What they’ve done is broken the law." The 24-foot long mural was commissioned after the Red Hook bicentennial celebration in 2012. She and fellow artist Jeff Crane painted the mural, which was conceptualized by Loretta Campagna, who, along with her husband Frank, was behind the creation of the Children's Learning Garden. The mural depicted barnyard and woodland animals and the Hudson River and was painted along a retaining wall at the rear of the library. Rohrmeier said that by painting over the piece, and without providing the artists with notice, the library violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, a federal statute that, in certain situations, protects artists against the destruction of their work in public spaces. Red Hook Public Library Director Dawn Jardine said the mural was covered as part of an ongoing effort to update children's spaces at the library. The new artwork will depict the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. "I never imagined that this would be such a big deal," Jardine said. "We have a very limited space here at the library, and we work very hard to make the most of it." The library mural is the second mural in a public space in Red Hook to be covered in recent months. In June, a mural on the side of a building on South Broadway was painted over by the building's owner after claims that the work was racist. The effort to remove that painting was spearheaded by Jardine's daughter, Julia. Jardine rejected the notion that the library action and her daughter's were connected. "Apples and oranges," she said of comparing the two. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.