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Brunswick woman files FOAA request to determine mural location

Posted March 29, 2011, at 1:01 p.m.
Last modified March 29, 2011, at 2:03 p.m.

A Brunswick woman has filed a Freedom of Access request with the governor’s office seeking the location of a controversial mural depicting Maine’s labor history that Gov. Paul LePage ordered taken down over the weekend.

Michelle Small, a member of the Freedom of Information Coalition, filed a request Monday evening to obtain the location of the mural, which is being kept in an undisclosed location.

The debate over the mural and its relocation will take center stage at the Hall of Flags on Friday afternoon, with opponents of the mural’s removal convening to demand its return to the Department of Labor offices, where it has hung since 2008.

Tuesday, the president of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts has sent a scathing letter to Maine Gov. Paul LePage for removing a mural that included an image of former U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, a 1902 Mount Holyoke graduate with roots in Maine.

Lynn Pasquerella faxed a letter outlining “grave concerns” about LePage’s decision to remove the 36-foot mural and to rename departmental conference rooms now named for labor leaders, including Perkins.

Pasquerella was surprised to hear LePage was influenced by an anonymous letter comparing the mural to North Korean political propaganda. It depicts mill workers, shipbuilders, labor strikes and child laborers.

Pasquerella said removing the mural “conjures thoughts of the rewriting of history prevalent in totalitarian regimes.”

LePage says it’s biased in favor of organized labor.

The LePage administration has said it removed the mural because it presented a “one-sided” view of the state’s labor history. The administration has solicited proposals for a new work that would portray how business and labor interests have worked cooperatively.

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