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2 drawings booted from Texas arts-center show

By The Associated Press
12.14.07

LUBBOCK, Texas — A city official banned two drawings — one with nudity — from an art show in a city-run facility, a move the artist says could discourage her West Texas colleagues.

The predominantly pencil-sketched images of a nearly fully clothed mother who is breast-feeding and a nude pregnant woman were banned from the Buddy Holly Center, a cultural facility that pays tribute to the late rock 'n' roll star and regularly displays various art forms.

"I was very surprised because I had shown there in 2003 and had shown many nudes," Lahib Jaddo said on Dec. 11. "I am mad at the city."

The decision came only hours before the First Friday Art Trail last week and was made without a policy governing what is prohibited, said Scott Snider, Lubbock's assistant city manager for community services.

"The decision was consistent with the museum's recent practices," Snider said in a statement.

Those practices go back two years, city spokeswoman Pam Fitch said.

Jaddo said Snider made the decision without seeing the images, a claim the city didn't address.

"We know he didn't because (the decision) was made over the phone," she said.

Each image has some portions painted with flesh tones. In the one of the mother breast-feeding the infant, there is flesh color on the baby's face and legs, the mother's face and arms and on a portion of her upper right chest.

The image of the pregnant woman has flesh tones on her hands, face and a portion of the front of her shoulders. The breasts and genital area are visible.

"I don't think the images were obscene," said Annie Harrison, Jaddo's model for the images and a breast-feeding advocate for new mothers. "The point she was making is, 'This is beautiful.'"

Texas lawmakers in 1995 passed a bill permitting breast-feeding in public. The law entitles a mother to breast-feed her baby anywhere the mother is authorized to be.

It appears the incident will not bring about a written policy.

"We will continue to review exhibits on a case-by-case basis using good judgment about the nature of what is displayed in a city-owned facility which hosts events attended by children," City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld said through Fitch.

Jaddo could have shown her works — seven images depicting different walks of life — at one of several venues around the city that regularly participate in the event. Artists contact the galleries or businesses and arrange for their work to be shown the first Friday of each month, other artists said.

Jaddo said she would have gone elsewhere had she known the images would be withheld. The censorship would force artists in and around Lubbock to go elsewhere, she said.

"The impact is they can't show everything they have, so that means there'll be a self-censoring for anything going into the Buddy Holly Center," Jaddo said.


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