Photo of same-sex couple removed from Gaston County Museum exhibit
The county manager removed the photo from the exhibit
DALLAS, N.C. (WBTV) - Multiple organizations are outraged after a photo of a same-sex couple was removed from an art exhibit at the Gaston County Museum.
The picture shows two men embracing each other and kissing after celebrating their engagement. It was originally a part of the “Into the Darkroom: Photography as History and Artform” exhibit which opened on May 31st.
Clark Simon is the president of Charlotte Pride, which is an organization dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Simon says he wasn’t surprised the photo was removed but he is still devastated.
“It is a feeling of disappointment in the county in which I live to take a section of the population and deem them not appropriate to all of the people attending the museum,” Simon said.
A Gaston County spokesman released a statement saying the Gaston County manager made the independent decision to replace the photo and is speaking with the artist to find a different piece that “would be more considerate of differing viewpoints in the community.”
“Why would you not, after reviewing the installation prior to opening to the public, not raise concerns until the middle of Pride Month,” Simon said.
Simon feels this was a form of censorship and that a public exhibit such as this one, should welcome all viewpoints.
“I just don’t know what would be more inclusive than showcasing the vibrant diversity that is in Gaston County - that works here, that pays taxes here, participates in local governments,” he said.
Below is the full statement from the Gaston County spokesman:
“After reviewing a photograph in the Gaston County Museum of Art and History’s recent exhibit, “Into the Darkroom,” County Manager Dr. Kim Eagle instructed museum staff to work with the photographer to find an alternative photograph to display that would be more considerate of differing viewpoints in the community. The idea behind the exhibit is to document a historical event, and there are other options from the photographer’s work that more fully capture the context of the parade that was documented.
This was an internal decision under the manager’s purview, and did not involve the Board of Commissioners. The Museum is government-funded, and as such, it is important for the items it shares to be informational without championing political issues. As a public administrator, there is a delicate balance between the effort to foster an inclusive workplace and community, while avoiding political advocacy.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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