Artwork touching on themes of racism, women's rights, and climate change at an Orange County Wells Fargo building was removed after some customers perceived it as "too aggressive."
"There’s nothing lewd or profane in any of the pieces," Allyson Allen said.
Allen said her "Piece-ful" art exhibit, as in pieces of a quilt, was designed to make people think. She has exhibited her art around the world and is considered a master quilt maker.
"My work is deliberate and intentional in that I'm trying to create to juxtaposition between harsh text and soft textiles," she said.
All 36 quilts had been on display inside the Laguna Beach Wells Fargo bank. But six days after the art went up, it came down.
"I was told it offended some customers, and I said, 'I’m offended I can’t see it,'" customer Katy Moss said.
The hand-sewn quilts touch on themes of racism, women’s rights and even climate change. They had been displayed in a second floor gallery curated by the Community Art Project.
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The art exhibit was supposed to go up two years ago but was pushed back because of the pandemic. It was erected to coincide with a gala at which Allen was to get an award.
In a town that prides itself on being an artists’ colony, the reaction is one of surprise.
"It reflects really poorly on the community to have an artist whose content-driven work is driven out of the venue it was being displayed in," artist Jorg Dubin said.
In a statement to NBCLA, Wells Fargo said it is committed to and invested in Laguna Beach.
"Wells Fargo is committed to and invested in the Laguna Beach community – our support of the Community Art Project program is a reflection of that commitment. We’re equally committed to ensuring a culture and customer experience that welcomes all," a spokesperson said.
After 30 years of sewing her statement art pieces, Allen says she hopes this display will find a new home.
The tragedy is that the theme of the exhibit is relevant at any time -- a decade ago, and tragically may be relevant five or 10 years from now," Allen said.