Dr.

Andy Ambrose
Executive Director
Tubman Museum
310 Cherry Street
Macon, GA 31201
By Electronic Mail
August 12, 2015
Dear Dr. Ambrose,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Arts Advocacy Program at the National Coalition Against
Censorship, the only national project dedicated to working directly with art institutions as well
as individual artists and curators involved in censorship disputes. We would like to express
our full support of the Tubman Museum’s decision to continue exhibiting “The Preacher
Pimp” by Alfred Conteh, in spite of demands that the work should be taken down.
While the Tubman’s recent expansion is likely to attract more attention for everything the
Museum does – and that includes the possibility of receiving complaints – your steadfastness
in standing by curatorial decisions and creative freedom will only enhance the institution’s
standing in the community. Standing up to demands for removal will also strengthen the
Museum’s position in the face of any future complaints. Perhaps you will also find a way to
use the controversy as an educational opportunity, and create programing which could serve
both as a place where protesters could have their positions heard and where the artist and
exhibition organizers can provide context for and a deeper understanding of the work.
The main goal of our program is to protect artists’ rights to participate in the democratic
dialogue by defending access to their work and supporting their ability to freely express views
that might be unpopular or controversial. Jointly with other national art service organizations,
we have developed a set of guidelines to support art institutions facing controversy. We
believe the guidelines may be helpful in the current and future cases.

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The Museum Best Practices for Managing Controversy emphasizes the creation of an
educational/public engagement schedule and framework for an exhibition in advance of its opening,
but it is possible to activate public engagement at a later date. This could include:

The collection and presentation of materials that identify the artist, the exhibition, and the
larger context and history of the work.
Providing opportunities for community dialogue: this could be either a meeting of the public
with the curator and/or artist or a space where the audience could write down responses to the
work and share them with others.

The controversy around this artwork may not be over. The group of pastors, who initially demanded
that the piece is taken down, will reportedly be issuing a statement later this week. We look forward to
the way the Tubman Museum will helm its narrative and would be happy to provide any additional
support and assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
With regards,

Svetlana Mintcheva, Ph.D.
Director of Programs
National Coalition Against Censorship
CC:
Jeffrey Bruce
Director of Exhibitions
Tubman Museum

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