Anchorage exhibit ban extends to Appalachia display

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The city of Anchorage is refusing to display a six-city exhibit about Appalachian culture at its main public library, citing a temporary ban on displays from outside the library.

Organizers of ''Appalachia from the Inside Out'' got caught up in Anchorage's fracas over a gay pride display. They wanted to install their exhibit -- photographs, arts and crafts -- on Monday. They said the city had told them they could do so and that it would be a sponsor.

Instead, Monday morning found exhibit director Maxine Kenny of Whitesburg, Ky., unsuccessfully trying to meet with Mayor George Wuerch to ask him to allow the display.

Wuerch imposed the ban on displays last month after a gay pride exhibit was installed at Loussac Library. The city removed the exhibit shortly after it was installed, setting off a lawsuit.

U.S. District Court Judge James Singleton this month ordered the city to put the gay pride display back up.

Organizers spent $1,200 to bring the Appalachian exhibit to Anchorage from San Antonio, Texas. Kenny scheduled an Alaska vacation so she could be here when the display was installed.

''I'm still hopeful there will be a resolution and people who know nothing about us will have a place to see this art and something about the lives and culture of the Appalachian Mountains,'' she said.

The city in early June prohibited exhibits with materials from outside the library so it could review its exhibit policy before any further challenges arose, said City Attorney Bill Greene said.

Still, the city e-mailed Kenny as late as June 27, helping to organize the exhibit at the library.

Wuerch declined to comment Monday.

Greene said there may have been a misunderstanding within the library over whether the city was a sponsor of the Appalachian exhibit. If the city was a sponsor, the exhibit could have been considered a library display, he said.

The city is working on its library policy. Greene said he wasn't sure when the legal department would offer a policy. The city's library board will consider the policy, though probably not until after legal issues surrounding the exhibit are resolved, said librarian Tim Lynch.



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