Policy on public art at the courthouse grounds on supes’ agenda

‘Flight to Reality’ by Anna Modeland, an entry in the 2019 Ring Out for Art contest

The Greene County supervisors will welcome public input at its meeting next Monday on a draft policy concerning public art on the courthouse grounds and in the courthouse.

County attorney Thomas Laehn drafted a policy that prohibits public art unless it is solicited and approved by the county board of supervisors. The supervisors will also maintain “editorial control” over works of art to be placed on the grounds or in the courthouse.

The stated purpose of the policy is “to ensure that the Greene County Courthouse building and grounds are preserved in an attractive and intact condition to guarantee that the Courthouse building and grounds remain accessible to the public, and to protect the safety of Courthouse employees and visitors, while allowing for the display of public art…”

The need for a policy was raised by Laehn in May over concerns that allowing art on the grounds would set a precedent for allowing other forms of free speech. He argued that if one group were allowed access and exercised free speech through art, all groups must be allowed access, even groups with hate messages.

After meeting with members of Jefferson Matters: Main Street’s Tower View Team, organizers of the Ring Out for Art contest, the focus of a public art policy changed to one of county liability.

The draft policy for public art is on the supervisors’ July 15 agenda at 9 am. Comments from the public will be heard.

Click here to read the policy.

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