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Mural artist deserves better treatment

It’s time for the critics to step back and give John Pugh a chance.

Ever since The Union published a sketch of his proposed mural for the Del Oro Theatre in downtown Grass Valley, he’s been, to put it bluntly, treated poorly by too many members of our community.

Many of the comments posted on our Web site have been unnecessarily harsh and unfair. Pugh told The Union this week that his work has never received such scathing criticism.



This electronic tongue-lashing continues even though Pugh has said this is just a preliminary sketch and he’s committed to creating a mural that does reflect our gold-mining legacy. He’s been clear about that since first interviewed by The Union.

The four-member committee that chose Pugh from more than a dozen applicants should be applauded for selecting a world-class talent for this project. The committee also deserves credit for doing everything it can to invite the public into the process, which included letting the newspaper publish Pugh’s sketch.




There’s also no public funding for this $60,000 project, although some of the critics want to complain about the price tag.

Eventually, this mural will have to be approved by the City Council, which will give those who want to attack the artist and his work another chance to speak out.

We believe strongly in the public’s right to participate in this process and an individual’s right to express an opinion. But that doesn’t mean that we should abandon civility in our efforts to make a point.

Pugh has been selected for this job and hopefully he will remain committed to doing this work. Criticism from this point on should be constructive and fair. At the same time, we should welcome him into a community that we all know can be warm, supportive and appreciative of his efforts.

Let’s not leave a stain on this artist’s perception of our community.


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