California Center for the Arts trustees defend street art critical of police

Controversial facility
The artwork generated controversy in Escondido and widespread media coverage. Image from NBC show 7

Trustees of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido on Wednesday defended a Southern California street art exhibit that included a piece critical of the police.

An installation in the exhibit by street artist Richard Wyrgatsch II, known as OG Slick, included sculptures of pigs dancing in front of an image of police in riot gear.

The piece drew immediate criticism from the mayor and chief of police of Escondido and prompted a special meeting of the art center’s board of directors.

“The Board voted to continue CCAE’s support for the Street Legacy: Masters of SoCal Style exhibit and installation in question without removing, covering or otherwise altering it,” said Board Chair Sara Matta.

“Since opening last Friday, the exhibit has received an overwhelmingly positive response, although one installation has sparked passionate dialogue,” she said.

Matta said the council would convene a series of discussions involving exhibit curators, artists, city leaders, community groups and others to address the controversy.

“As a community-serving organization, CCAE has the opportunity to embrace and reflect diverse community perspectives and bring people together to discover, create and celebrate the visual and performing arts,” said she declared.

The exhibition, which runs until August 28, includes graffiti, street art, skateboarding, surfing, tattoos, hip hop, breaking, punk, lowriders and custom culture.

About Madeline J. Carter

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