Relocation of Controversial Mural from Augusta to Portland Not a Done Deal, Says Mayor

Frances Perkins, (L), as Depicted in the Controversial Mural that Governor LePage has Banned from the Labor Department, Augusta

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 740)

Contrary to some local media reports that the relocation of the controversial labor mural that currently hangs in a small alcove in the Department of Labor, Augusta, to the Portland City Hall is a done deal is not correct, said Portland Mayor  Nick Mavadones last night.  We need to see what the residents of Portland want he added.

The controversy, which has made national headlines, erupted when an unknown source wrote Governor LePage and said that he found the mural,  focused on the history of Maine’s labor struggles to be inapproriately placed in the Labor Department building because it sends the wrong message to the business community.  LePage ordered the mural removed from the building. 

“I’d prefer to see the mural remain in Augusta, because it tells a big story about the history of the labor movement in Maine.  It’s not just a Portland  story,” said Mayor Mavodones.  “It’s much bigger.”  If the mural is about to be stored in a closet up there or something of that nature, that could be a different story, he continued.   “In that event, I’d like to see it on display in the Portland city hall, but on a temporary basis only.  It could travel to different locations around the state that share this labor history,” he said.

Portland had this “thrust” upon it by state rep. Chipman and city councilor Marshall because they’ve apparently been talking to the Governor’s office without my knowledge – in a well intended way the Mayor had no doubt.  “I’ve just not discussed the matter with either of them at all,” he said.  The Mayor expressed concern that the City might end up helping the Governor to solve a public relations problem of his own making. Mavodones said he has been receiving emails on the subject – of which most of them are opposed to moving the mural to Portland.

Public comment on the disposition of the  mural will be taken at the regularly scheduled city council meeting on Monday, April 4th.

Adam Fisher, communications director, for the Labor Department in Augusta, told MHN.com on  Friday that no decision has been made as to where the 36 ft. mural will be moved.  The mural will not be removed until a new location has been determined for it. Several non-profit organizations as well as the Frances Perkins Center, Newcastle, have expressed interest in displaying it. 

For more information, please visit FrancesPerkinsCenter.org and the previous post on MHN.com