Hannah Miller invited a small group of her friends to a birthday dinner at Little Saigon. The dinner conversations were lively and animated. Then the conversation turned to an unexpected topic, namely art censorship in Orlando. Jessica Earley had a painting of hers on exhibit at Pom Poms Tea house as part of a group show called "The Happy Glitter Show." It is believed that a costumer at the tea house took it upon themselves to censor Jessica's painting by placing a round bright yellow sticker on the piece. The painting depicts a group of women and written across the chest of one was, "Do the dishes. Feed the cat. Don't be a C*nt." Ironically Jessica had already censored herself by placing an * in place of the vowel. The management of Pom Pom's was very apologetic and they removed the sticker once it was discovered.
As an artist I find the willingness of people in our community to deface and censor artwork very disturbing. Jessica was soft spoken and sincere as she expressed her concerns, "Someone in the community put the sticker on my painting. And business owners are afraid of what the people in our community might think of provocative or questionable art, so they ask that you don't hang it in their business. We as a community are censoring ourselves and keeping our minds closed." Her work deals with and respects woman's issues. "It really is interesting to me, because there are a lot of artists who will portray women in very objectified ways through their art (pin up style art, etc..), and people most often will find this to be OK, because it has sort of seeped into being the norm. But if I make a painting dealing with some real things that women go through, for example, menstruation, then my painting won't get hung."
The options for exhibiting artwork in this town are limited to say the least. Artists must face the risk of exhibiting in bustling, sometimes smoke filled restaurants and bars just to get their work seen. The chances of work being damaged escalates in these crowded insecure settings. Now it seems people feel the need to censor and deface art that they do not understand or appreciate. "This blows my mind because I find my work to be quite innocent and respectful to the female. It's very frustrating, because the work I do is very personal to me, but I'm not trying to be purposefully shocking in any sort of way. I've had a few different instances where I've felt cheated or censored." Jessica said.