Local Library Removes Art Exhibit by Lawrenceville Artist

An art exhibition displaying sketches of television evangelicals was removed from the Grayson Library over the weekend because a patron complained that it wasn't inclusive enough. The portraits were only of Christian pastors.

An art exhibit that was scheduled to be on display until Aug. 11 at the was removed on Saturday following a complaint by a library patron.

 said he was contacted by the library on Friday and told that he needed to remove it. Beach said he was told that a woman of the Jewish faith complained that the sketches were not inclusive. They were all of televangelists who were of the Christian faith.

Beach said the display was already down when he arrived Saturday.

“The manager said it was easiest to take it down when no patrons were in the library,” Beach said, adding he was shocked that he was asked to remove it. “Why was this woman’s rights more important than mine. The exhibition was not excluding anyone. It was not about religion – it was about my relationship with Jesus. What about my civil rights? What about freedom of speech? Isn't that what reading does – exposes us to other ways of thinking and how others think, feel, live." 

The exhibit contained eight well-known television evangelical preachers drawn with pencil on Stonehenge paper. 

Barbara Spruill, branch services director with the Gwinnett County Library System, said they had asked Beach to take it down after receiving a written complaint about it.

"We have worked with Mr. Beach before and he has exhibited with us before. We love his work," Spruill said. "However, we felt the scope of this particular exhibit was a little too narrow for the broad public audience that we have. This represented a singular point of view and we did have to respond to that - as well as to ensure that the artwork that is on display does not make anyone uncomfortable in the library."

As part of the Gwinnett County Public Library system, Grayson Library is a public building.

Although he is outspoken about his faith, the website shows that Beach works on many different subjects and in a variety of mediums. He said the library system has offered him the opportunity to display other subject matter instead of the evangelical exhibit. Officials at the library confirmed that this was the case.

In the meantime, this particular exhibit is no longer on display at the Grayson Library. However, other works by Beach can be found on his website at www.ralphbeachart.com.

Do you think the library should have taken down this exhibit? Tell us in the comment section below.

Msgoff July 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
UNBELIEVABLE!!! Well I'll be.......... actually I am speechless!
Pat Reinhardt July 17, 2012 at 11:04 AM
art is art, unbelievable we have such small minds in Grayson
Cindy Pitts Gilbert July 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM
So next you are going to tell me that they are removing a flower exhibit because they only included tropical flowers and left out the local pansies. An artist should be allowed to paint and express himself as he chooses he should not have to paint a certain religion if it does not speak to him/her. Artists paint from their soul and local artists should be encouraged by their local community. Gotta do a thumbs down on this one Grayson. Your attempt not to offend has offended me and I'm not even a fan of TV Evangelism.
TC July 18, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I can't believe this. You can never display art if your aim is to not make anyone uncomfortable. Art is meant to evoke all sorts of emotions or you're missing the point. If this woman wants to see some Jewish related art I suggest she take some art classes and display her own! I will gladly come see it if she is indeed as talented as this gentleman obviously is. I may not watch these TV evangelists but I certainly enjoy viewing this artists work. Please Dacula library, bring his art our way!
Msgoff July 18, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Amen and Amen!! I think Mr. Beach is due an apology and soon. Talk about censorship!
Scott Webb July 19, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Thats wrong. If you dont like it dont look! I'm a big supporter of local artist.
catdog1 July 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM
What a shame Mr. Beach..I'm sure some private business would be happy to exhibit your art....Chik-fil-A comes to mind.
catdog1 July 19, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I would like to complain to Grayson libray for jumping when a lady of the jewish faith made this request..she can certainly pay my library fees as well....im sure the MAJORITY of your patrons are of the christian faith.
Deanna Koutras July 19, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I was disgusted after reading this story. I hope the woman that made the complaint reads all of the support Mr.Beach is getting and she recognizes how silly her complaint is. And as for the Grayson Library, seriously folks get real!
Tammy Osier July 20, 2012 at 04:08 AM
If the library showcases local artists, and this was a local artist, then the library is endorsing the artist, and not necessarily his subject matter. If this is about inclusive faith, then would she also have a problem with MLK or Malcolm X? See what a slippery slope they (the library system) lets themselves in for when they cowtow to one complainer? They will probably hear complaints from the majority who disagree with them. Best not to open those doors to begin with.


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