“Art-Right” Supporters, Opponents Hold Dueling Demonstrations In Town Center

Top: Art-Right organizers distribute glass bottles of flammable liquid to rallygoers on Friday night. Bottom: "Artist" rendering of a giant wall that members of the Art-Wrong movement vow to prevent from being built in Mercerdale Park. (Image credits: mercerislandartuncorked.com, protectmiparks.org)

Mercer Island’s Town Center was home last weekend to two demonstrations last weekend representing opposite sides of the controversial “Art-Right” movement.

On Friday evening, a rally sponsored by a local Art-Right group commandeered the northern end of the Town Center. Witnesses reported that participants blocked local streets while wielding glass bottles containing flammable, alcohol-based liquids.

“Art-Wrong” organization Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks responded by holding a counter-protest at Mercerdale Park the following morning. “We will not stand idly by while the City Council allows Big Art to build a giant wall across Mercerdale Park,” thundered CCMIP spokesperson Loren Axelrod, “And keeps lying to the public about who’s going to pay for it.”

Walking through downtown Mercer Island on Saturday to the sound of Art-Wrong protest songs being performed live, Island piano tuner Manny Scales observed, “I don’t know who these people are, but they make a compelling case against allowing musical performances in Mercerdale Park.”

On Monday at City Hall, Mayor Bart Bastion responded to reporters’ questions about the weekend’s events by saying, “You had some very fine people on both sides.”