Who needs the NEA when artists can create their own masterpieces?

Phoenix’s “Art Detour” has been going on for decades—one of those community events where most of the art galleries and many other businesses open their spaces to patrons. Tens of thousands of people attend, and you can spend the entire weekend visiting dozens of attractions, listening to music and enjoying demonstrations. Today, art lovers along Grand Avenue will also have another work of art to admire.

A billboard depicting President Donald Trump's face next to explosions and dollar signs created with typography imitating Nazi swastikas went up in downtown Phoenix on Friday afternoon.

The back of the billboard shows five fists forming sign language letters with the word "unity" beneath the fists.

The billboard was designed by Santa Monica artist Karen Fiorito, who also created a 2004 Phoenix billboard during the Bush presidency, where she used the same Nazi-Dollar image. The art gallery La Melgosa, which also commissioned the Bush sign, hired Florito to design the Trump billboard. The gallery is owned by the two local art legends who started “Art Detour” in the early ‘90s.

The artist said she has a "real fear" of the direction of the country politically under Trump. She said the dollar signs imitating Nazi swastikas originally were designed by New York artist Hugh Gran for her 2004 billboard, but she believed they were appropriate for use in this piece as well.   

Even more so, I’d say. It’s doubtful the artist received a dime from the National Endowment for the Arts, which Trump intends to eliminate, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and just about every other educational and cultural agency.

As the billboard makes clear, he needs more money for his corporate overlords’ tax breaks and to stockpile more weapons, while the NEA and NEH budgets combined wouldn’t even pay for a year of Melania’s security at Trump Tower. 

Priorities. Sick ones at that.

Molly say:
So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.


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