Artist: Stewart Freshwater
Date of Action: October 2005
Region: North America
Location: City Hall Bridge Gallery (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Description of Artwork: A charcoal and pastel drawing of a semi-nude figure, though the anatomy of the body is so ambiguous that supposedly one cannot decipher "whether the figure is a man or a woman"
The Incident: Through an internal system that allows city workers to email complaints anonymously, one employee contacted City Manager Doug Selby. The city responded by censoring two drawings, buckling under the fear of facing a Tittle VII case
Results of Incident: This case complicates the convergence of First Amendment rights and the right to a safe work environment. Selby pointed out that "a majority" of city workers have to pass through the space, which may constitute the gallery/transit area as a "work space". However, as Arts Advocacy Project director Svetlana Mintcheva stressed in a letter, the presence of art in a workplace--even if it is received by an overwhelming majority as "offensive"--does not and cannot generate a hostile or abusive work environment. Thus, the threat of a Title VII case is moot.