University of Wisconsin-Stout Moves to Censor Paintings of First Nations People

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Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout has announced two of three historic paintings depicting interactions between white traders and First Nations people are to be removed from public view because of their potentially "harmful effect" on students and other viewers.

The paintings, which were commissioned under the Works Progress Administration and painted by artist Cal Peters in 1935, can be found in the University's Harvey Hall, a building currently undergoing major  renovations. In preparation for the Hall's grand re-opening this fall, the paintings were to be restored by university art students under the direction of their professors. The restoration work, funded by the Wisconsin Historical Society, began back in 2013.

This summer, however, the paintings caught the eye of the University's Diversity Leadership Team (DLT) who expressed concern that the depiction of First Nations people would reinforce racial stereotypes. The issue was brought to the attention of University Chancellor Bob Meyer who, after a series of discussions with the DLT, ruled in their favor. Because of the risk of "having a harmful effect on our students and other viewers," the paintings will not appear in the new Harvey Hall and will be placed into storage, Chancellor Meyer announced. Given the sensitive subject matter of the paintings, he continued, if they are to be displayed, it must be in "a controlled gallery space" that provides "context" for a viewer.  And “a controlled gallery space” just does not exist at the University, so the paintings will most likely just remain out of view. The paintings in question can be viewed here.

Read entire article at National Coalition Against Censorship

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