A few years ago, Olympia artist Nikki McClure was invited to do a bird-themed Christmas ornament for the White House. My first thought was “how do I get considered for this art honor” (hey, I am an artist, it is all about me, baby, did you think I was going to say “good for her?!”), along with “eewww, make an X-mas ornament for Bush?” and “hmm, how often do visual artists get recognized at the White House and how can I get on that invite list?” Now that President-elect Obama will be there, I really really want to be asked to create an ornament for the White House tree. Maybe there will be a “green” theme, or even just a good old recycled art theme, in which case, Ruby Re-Usable would be golden, right?!
Anyways, while I was mulling about how I would make an appropriate environmental statement while slipping in a sly reference to Hanukkah with my future X-mas ornament, Seattle recycled artist Deborah Lawrence made a political statement with her red, white and blue-themed ornament. You can read all about the controversy that it has stirred up HERE and HERE and HERE
Reading some of the vitriolic comments, one would think that Dee Dee drew an insulting cartoon depiction of Mohamed, rather than doing what she always does, which is to create visual art with a strong and heartfelt message.
In fact, King County Art Commission’s Heather Dwyer stated that she chose Lawrence because she wasn’t looking for somebody who would blandly decorate an ornament. She was thinking about artists, not illustrators. “I suggested her because of her social engagement — feminism, anti-war, anti-poverty — and knew she’d think of it as an opportunity.” In other words, Art Isn’t Nice
Meanwhile, Bremerton’s Amy Burnett has an ornament still hanging on the White House tree. How nice.