April 5, 2011

U.S. Labor Department asks
for return of Maine mural funding

Meanwhile, the removal sparks a new protest in Augusta and gets a mention in the pages of Time.

By Tom Bell tbell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Labor Mural
click image to enlarge

Demonstrators rally Monday at the State House, demanding the return of the mural that Gov. Paul LePage ordered removed from the Maine Department of Labor headquarters.

Pat Wellenbach/The Associated Press

Labor Mural
click image to enlarge

Protesters chanted “Put it back,” “Recall Paul” and “Idiot power” – a reference to LePage’s remark at a previous pro-mural rally.

Pat Wellenbach/The Associated Press

Additional Photos Below

Related Documents

U.S. Labor Department's letter about mural

Portland City Councilor David Marshall, who owns an art studio, said the controversy has produced some positive results. He said LePage has made the mural internationally famous.

"He has taught us more about Maine's labor history than we have ever known," Marshall said. "He has brought us together."

One of the speakers at the rally was Charlie Scontras, a labor historian at the University of Maine who advised the artist, Judy Taylor of Tremont, when she was creating the mural. Taylor used Scontras as a model for the shoemaker in the mural's first panel.

The Maine Republican Party issued a news release Monday that described the mural as "a self-honoring monument" selected by Gov. John Baldacci's labor commissioner, Laura Fortman.

The party contends that Fortman had Taylor paint her into the mural, in a panel with Perkins.

The party distributed photos comparing Fortman with the figure in the mural.

Taylor told the Lewiston Sun Journal that the figures in the mural were based on composites of hundreds of people who walked into her studio.

"Nobody, in particular Laura Fortman, asked me to put them in the mural," she said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


MaineToday Media State House Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 699-6261 or at: tbell@mainetoday.com


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Additional Photos

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Demonstrators rally Monday at the State House. Portland City Councilor David Marshall said LePage “has taught us more about Maine’s labor history than we have ever known.”

Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal


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