I am told that allegedly the Chief Executive of Montgomery County has (so far successfully) pressured Montgomery College to censor an art exhibit in the school's Open Gallery. The exhibit is entitled Cindi Hron: Back Pain, and "explores the lingering psychological affects of pain through watercolors and embroidery of abstracted bodies." The Open Gallery is located in the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, and is run by the department of Visual and Performing Arts.
Parts of the exhibit may/will be censored tomorrow, March 28 during the Montgomery County GreenFest event being held at the college. GreenFest runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the West Campus of Montgomery College's Takoma Park and Silver Spring Campus.
I am also told that on Wednesday evening, March 25, the GreenFest " administration" requested that the exhibit in the Open Gallery be removed for their event. Vice president and Provost Brad Stewart correctly responded on Thursday that the artwork would not be removed because Montgomery College does not condone censorship, and the Open Gallery is a professional exhibit space hosting an external artist (good for him!). As the GreenFest occurs during gallery open hours, Dr. Stewart apparently saw no way to remove the exhibition without damaging the gallery's and the college's reputation.
However, apparently the administration of the GreenFest then contacted Montgomery County Chief Executive Ike Leggett with their complaint. Allegedly Leggett in turn then contacted administrators above Dr. Stewart and allegedly told them to censor the Back Pain exhibit. Faced by this request from the Chief Executive during a budgetary review cycle, the college administration seems to be considering backing down (according to my source) "for fear of budgetary reprisal." Upper level administration then allegedly directed Dr. Stewart to ensure that Cindi Hron: Back pain is censored during tomorrow's GreenFest event. As of this blog post, a final decision by Dr. Stewart has not yet been released. However, short of a gutsy push-back on the college's part, the exhibition may/will be censored
firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-567-1312) and also Siobhan Quinn (email@example.com, 240-567-5794), whom as the Director of the Cultural Arts Center would have the most information on this topic. For the gallery's perspective, I have contacted Maureen Kohl (firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-567-1393), Art Center and Gallery Coordinator, and Wilfred Brunner (email@example.com, 240-567-1461), Professor and Chair of the Exhibition Committee.
If this is all true, and however it ends, this is not only reprehensible and unacceptable, but once again reveals why the American people are so disillusioned with most of our elected officials. If "Democrat" Leggett, Chief Commissar of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Montgomery County did indeed pressure Montgomery College to censor the exhibition, his alleged art censorship is now on a direction that puts it on a dangerous path to potentially join a notorious set of political art troglodytes that include such monsters as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, the fig-leaf painters of a few centuries ago, and many such other "leaders." And if the GreenFest leadership did initiate the pressure, it also says something about that organization... doesn't it?
If any of the people that I have/will be contacting can add any further info to this issue, I will publish it here.
Update: (Saturday AM): I now have final word on what's happening. Apparently the college administrators stood their ground against censorship, so the Greenfest decided to pull out of the Cafritz Arts Center entirely rather than having exhibitors near the Back Pain exhibit. Greenfest is now being held in the Cultural Arts Center and Jessup Blair Park only, not in the Cafritz Arts Center.