Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What Is It About Art Teachers? Part II

This past summer the biggest news in Austin seemed to be about the nude photo's of an Austin art teacher. See, What Happens When the Art Teacher Is the Model? That case was resolved, but the art scene has shifted to Richmond, Virginia where another art teacher's website has gotten him into trouble. It also has led to what may arguably be the biggest groan of a headline of the year, the AP's Teacher in Crack Over Butt Art.

It seems that Stephen Murmer, a popular art teacher in the Chesterfield County Schools, is also an artist, selling his paintings for up to $900. But like Tamara Hoover, it was a website that got him to trouble. More specifically it was his video demonstrating his particular painting technique — "plastering his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas" — which did him under.

Although leading to all sorts of bad puns, "cheeky creations" etc. it does raise a serious question about an employer's right to discipline for an employee's legal, if somewhat unusual, off-work behavior. The ACLU is looking at the case for Murmer.

This is not new ground for Murmer as a description of his technique and how it came to be appeared here in a May 2, 1999 post on the blog Stare. Although none of the art shows up for me, you can attempt to check out his paintings here.

Hat tip to Howard Bashman's How Appealing post.


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