When Herberger Theater Center's art gallery canceled the group exhibition "Prime Example" less than a week before the show was set to open at the theater's gallery, the arts community cried foul.
Although it took a few days for all the details to come out, it's clear that the show was canceled because Herberger objected to the content of some of the artwork that the show's curator Robrt Pela (a longtime New Times contributor) had chosen. Herberger officials have denied in multiple statements that this was an act of censorship, offering three different explanations as to why the show, which was on the books for two years, was abruptly called off.
And what's happened since?
There was a small anti-censorship protest outside the Herberger in early September, and several artists and a curator have withdrawn from commitments to Herberger's gallery, guaranteeing that the impact of this action will be felt for a long time.
Outrage came from another somewhat unlikely source, as well: the Mayor's Office. Lawyer Brendan Mahoney, Mayor Greg Stanton's senior policy adviser and an LGBT rights advocate, is unsettled over what happened.
"The bottom line is this: Censorship is unacceptable. Period," Mahoney says.