School murals in San Francisco should stay for now, the judge says

This week’s California court ruled that the Works Progress Administration frescoes depicting George Washington’s life could not be removed from a local high school without an environmental review, and the San Francisco Board of Education enthusiastically discussed it. Interfered with the plan to hide the artwork.

Painted in the 1930s by Diego Rivera’s former assistant, Victor Arnoutov, “Washington lifeMural paintings dominated the entrance to the school and have been the subject of debate for many years. Critics, including parents and students, said high school students should not be forced to see racism in the depictions of enslaved African-American and Native American murals. They wanted to fill the frescoes. Mural proponents, including art historians, said destroying them was equivalent to a book burning.

A communist, Arnautoff was born in Russia and taught at Stanford University. His murals portrayed the young country as responsible for the killing of Native Americans, with the first president as a slave owner. However, the Native American Parents Advisory Board and other organizations in the school said students should not be forced to see its history.

“When I see the murals as an indigenous Pacific Islander, I get hurt and offended,” wrote Fauga Moriga, vice president of the San Francisco Board of Education. “I’m sure most people who see murals in Washington feel the same as I do.”

Two years ago, the school board decided to remove the mural from its public release at school, rather than painting it. This was previously voted by the board.

In October 2019, the George Washington High School Alumni Association sued the board and school district About their decision.

On Tuesday, California Superior Court judge Anne-Christine Massullo said the San Francisco authorities must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act “enacted to protect California’s environmental and historic resources,” and the school district He said he would not comply. I was allowed to remove the mural without first conducting an environmental impact review.

Civil servants must follow these steps.Before The decision will be made, ” Judge Massullo wrote in her decision.

The judge said that members of a committee organized by the school board to consider the future of mural paintings decided before organizing a public meeting. “PowerPoint presentation,” she writes. “It didn’t contain any references to maintain the mural.”

The order was issued in response to a proceeding by a group of alumni who have long sought to preserve works of art, claiming that murals provide immersive historical lessons.

Lopeyap Jr., vice president of the George Washington High School Alumni Association, said he knew that the committee appointed by the school board was “predetermined to remove the murals.” He continued, “Thanks to the judge for agreeing to that view.”

Moriga said he supported the environmental review. As part of that, we need to consider the feelings of our students and their parents. “I want students and families in Washington to analyze how murals are affected by their inclusion in the school environment.”

When asked to comment, school district spokeswoman Laura Daddnick said the school was preparing for the fall semester, and the judge had just issued the ruling, so “I don’t have time to consider it thoroughly.” “.

School murals in San Francisco should stay for now, the judge says

Source link School murals in San Francisco should stay for now, the judge says

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