Wisconsin Gov. Walker removes painting of poor children

By David Edwards
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 11:24 EDT
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Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker will have one less reason to think about the plight of disadvantaged children.

The governor has decided to have a painting of poor and homeless kids removed from the governor’s mansion. It will be replaced with a Civil War-themed painting of a bald eagle.

The David Lenz painting entitled “Wishes in the Wind” depicts three children — an African-American girl who had been homeless, a Hispanic girl that came from a low-income family, and a boy who had lost his brother and father to a drunk driving accident.

The state Executive Residence Foundation commissioned the painting in 2005 for display in the governor’s mansion. It was finally placed there just last November.

“The homeless, central city children and victims of drunk drivers normally do not have a voice in politics,” Lenz told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “This painting was an opportunity for future governors to look these three children in the eye, and I hope, contemplate how their public policies might affect them and other children like them.”

“I guess that was a conversation Governor Walker did not want to have,” he added.

The artist called the move “symbolic” of Walker’s decision to make big cuts in spending on schools and city and county services.

“You would think we could all agree on the need to support the hopes and dreams of children,” Lenz said.

The governor’s office attempted to head off public criticism by issuing a press release.

“The painting Wishes in the Wind, which was previously on display in the Drawing Room, is on loan to the Central Library in Milwaukee where 560,000 visitors each year will see it, learn about its significance and continue the discussion about providing hope and optimism for the least privileged in our society,” the statement said. “By comparison, the Executive Residence hosts approximately 15,000 visitors each year.”

“Once the governor decided he didn’t want it, he did everything right,” Milwaukee library board member Ald. Nik Kovac said. “But the fact that he didn’t want it says a lot.”

[H/T: Mother Jones]

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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