May 29, 2020
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Bangor chalk artist responds to anti-immigrant OpEd with display

BANGOR, Maine — An opinion piece penned by a state representative from Amherst who said in September that Maine should close its doors to immigrants has spurred a local chalk artist to design a display in opposition.

The design — a state of Maine built by people of multiple cultures and led by Paul Bunyan — came together for artist Andrea Simoneau in the two months since the editorial from Rep. Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst, ran in the Bangor Daily News.

The art was drawn on the sidewalk in front of the newspaper at 1 Merchants Plaza on Monday morning.

“I thought this message is quite relevant now in the wake of the elections and the policies that are starting to emerge,” Simoneau said of the Nov. 8 presidential election, as she used green chalk to fill in part of western Maine.

Lockman, a second-term representative for District 137, ended his September opinion piece by saying the U.S. should enact “a minimum five-year moratorium on all immigration into the United States” and that in Maine “we need to cut off all welfare payments to noncitizens” and that “any municipality, such as Portland, that declares itself a ‘safe zone’ for illegal immigrants should lose all state funding for schools and social services.”

Simoneau, whose artwork is titled “Build Maine Together,” said she would prefer that people work together. She said there is symbolism in each one of her characters, which include a Somalian woman, an African American man, an Asian woman, a Hispanic man, a Caucasian woman and a Penobscot Indian Nation woman. For example, the Penobscot is pictured at the base of Maine, watering the central tree or backbone of the state.

“The spirit of Maine has to do with welcoming,” the Bangor artist said. “Everyone should work together, by reaching out together to make Maine stronger.”



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