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Letter: Trustee should respect copyright of artwork

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 9:06 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:55 p.m. CDT

A fellow artist sent me the Jan. 22  Daily Herald article titled “Lombard trustee touches up incomplete mural of historic sites."

I recognized the painting as one done by Vern Milem, a distinguished Lombard artist and former dean of the Chicago Academy of Finer Arts and former president of the Chicago Artist's Guild. He taught various art classes in the surrounding communities over the years and was well known as "Mr. Vern."

Many of his murals are displayed throughout the community. The mural is obviously not a copy since in 1983 I don't think it was common to copy artwork that size.

From the view of a professional artist, I was shocked to read nothing of Trustee Laura Fitzpatrick's legal obligation to obtain written permission from the artist’s heirs before altering his work.

All major art schools teach us that our work is protected by copyright law even 70 years after we die. Artist organizations such as the Graphic Artists Guild and the National Cartoonists Society have fought on behalf of artists’ rights of ownership of their artwork. This applies to both professional and amateur artists.

For the village to re-hang Vern's mural that has been altered by Ms. Fitzpatrick is inasmuch endorsing her disregard for the copyright protection that we who make our living in the art world depend upon. I think Ms. Fitzpatrick owes both Vern's family and artists everywhere an apology and an explanation.

Brian Diskin, NCS member, Wheaton (formerly of Lombard)

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