Project Artistic Freedom

Protection of Artistic Freedom

Cases in which the right to display art has been protected:

Case 1:

We feel that in this case the courts would rule in favor of the artist. They would still be able to display their work because a library is a limited public forum, and they has not previously developed a viewpoint-neutral policy. The following court cases were used in determining our opinion: 

Bellospirito v. Manhasset Public Library
Situation: Bellopspirito had a painting of hers displayed at the Manhasset Public Library. The library wanted to remove it because of the nudity in some of the works. The courts ruled in favor of Bellopspirito. She was allowed to display her art because the library was a limited public forum.

LIMITED PUBLIC FORUM: public property that has been opened for a limited purpose, such as use for certain subjects and by classes of speakers. Restrictions on speech in a limited public forum are upheld if they are viewpoint-neutral and reasonable in light of the purpose of the forum. (Art Law Library).

Outcome:Unless the library had already written a rule that prohibited these types of painting (for the purpose of protecting the children) then they could not ban the display of the paintings.

Hopper and Rupp v. City of Pasco
Situation: The City of Pasco turned an old schoolhouse into their new City Hall. In order to get decorate the newly renovated building they wanted to contract an art gallery to display some works. The contracted Hopper and Rupp but soon after the works were displayed the city removed them. It was decided that the building was a designated public forum.

DESIGNATED PUBLIC FORUM: property that has been specifically opened by the state for expressive activity by the general public. Speech restrictions in designated fora are subject to strict scrutiny, as such restrictions are subject to strict scrutiny in traditional public forums (Art Law Library).

Outcome: It was ruled that the works were not obscene and no children would see or be harmed by the works so they could not ban it. Like the Bellospirito v. Manhasset Public Library case, they would have been able to ban the art from being displayed if they had previously developed a clear, documented, viewpoint-neutral policy.

Case 7:

In this situation we feel that Laura’s right to sell paintings, as well as display them, in Central Park is protected by the First Amendment. The law that says religious and political expression is protected is correct. However, the First Amendment protects almost all forms of expression, not exclusively those two. This situation was based on the following: 

White v. City of Sparks

The city of Sparks, Nevada had a law similar to the one described in our hypothetical situation. The law said that only items that “convey an express or obvious religious, political, philosophical, or ideological message”  as determined by city officials, could be sold. White wanted to sell paintings that did not specifically express any of these things, in the city parks. The city argued that White’s paintings were not automatically protected by the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the sale of an artist’s original paintings is protected expression under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court denied the city’s request for a writ of certiorari. (Source: NCAC)

Case 10:

In this situation, we believe Jeffrey Shearn would be allowed to show his film at the festival because revoking or denying the license of a film merely based on the opinions of a few people who deem it “sacrilegious” is a violation of his First Amendment rights. The basis for our determination of this case comes from Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson (1952).

Joseph Burstyn, Inc v. Wilson (1952)

In this case, Joseph Burstyn had his license revoked, rendering him incapable of showing his short film “The Miracle.” The film was criticized by a Christian audience and thought to be blasphemous and sacrilegious. Revoking a motion picture license on these grounds was found to be a restraint on freedom of expression in court. This court decision gave film protection under the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech. The Supreme Court overturned its decision that movies were more of a business than an art form which was previously decided in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio (1915). Source.

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