Stop the Whitewash!! Artist Decries Removal of Her Mural at San Francisco Branch Library

An artist who helped paint the community-created Victor Jara mural on Bernal Heights Branch Library today asserted her rights to 90-day notice prior to destruction of the mural so that she may have an opportunity to remove it. Story from Indy Media.

Nora Roman, whose name is listed on the mural as one of the artists, sent a letter to the City Librarian Luis Herrera and other San Francisco officials asserting her rights under the California Art Preservation Act (CAPA).

CAPA provisions include a requirement that the owner of a work of art that is to be destroyed must give 90 days notice to the artist so that he or she may remove the work. No such notice had been given to Ms. Roman as of yesterday, October 2, the date the City Librarian announced that the mural would be painted out in two days, October 4. He spoke in the Bernal Heights Branch, during one of 11 previously-scheduled meetings citywide to discuss with the public the library’s open hours for the next five years.

Peter Warfield, Executive Director of Library Users Association, said it appeared that the library had made no effort to locate Ms. Roman, to offer her, as one of the artists, an opportunity to remove the mural. “Even though Nora Roman’s name is on the side of the mural as one of the artists, the library did not bother to let her know what it planned for the mural – namely complete destruction followed by replacement with something that leaves out any reference to the most important elements of the existing mural,” he said.

Mr. Warfield said the planned replacement gives an unexplained “financial fee” of $16,800 to the Friends of SFPL, where no such fee was involved in an original refreshment plan previously approved by the Library Commission in 2009.

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