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Murals with Racially Insensitive Message Have No Place in City Hall

September 19, 2017

Dear Editor,

Dr. Smith is clearly an authority on the world of Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and he comes to his defense in his recent Santa Monica Outlook Op-Ed ("A Colorful Piece of Santa Monica's Cultural Life Could Be Lost," September 18, 2017).

He lays out the historical importance of Macdonald-Wright’s work and the WPA-FAP program while simultaneously acknowledging the artist’s biases.

But Dr. Smith’s statement completely misses the point of the protests against these murals. No one is advocating taking a hammer to these works of art! There is no proposed censorship!

Simply put, the murals, with their racially insensitive message, have no place greeting visitors to our City Hall.

Present-day Santa Monica is a diverse, progressive city, focused on achieving prosperity and social justice simultaneously. Macdonald-Wright’s murals are a part of our history, and they belong with other precious artifacts from our past, in a museum.

Santa Monica City Hall belongs to the people of Santa Monica, and the anachronistic murals at its entrance do not reflect our values as a community.

Let’s honor our history by safely conserving these works while replacing them with art that represents who we are today.

Noah Arthur Bardach, PhD
Art-historian, Mexicanist, human rights advocate and Santa Monica native

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