Banksy monkey art could threaten Newent youth funding
YOUTH workers in Newent fear their hard-line stance over controversial art on show in a Broad Street cafe could threaten funding for the venue.
Banksy street art of a monkey in the Queen's image against a Union flag has attracted fierce reaction.
Teens at the Chill Out Zone cafe said taking the poster down restricted their right to free speech. Reluctantly, youth leaders replaced the poster with a more mainstream Union flag. Now, they say their funding is under threat as a result.
Newent town councillors met on Monday and decided to put on hold £3,840 set aside for the venue for 2012 until an investigation into the controversy by the Newent Initiative Trust has been completed.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Judith Steers, cafe manager, said: "We had a visit from someone from the Trust who said he was there to save our necks. He implied if we didn't take down the art it could threaten our funding.
"This is so much more offensive than the piece of art that has created all of the fuss. The council should be ashamed of itself."
Complainers said the art is disrespectful to the monarchy and mocks the national flag.
Newent Town Council clerk Deirdre Rosser said: "The money has not been frozen or cut, just put on hold until the situation is investigated further."
The story has attracted much online comment at www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk. Jimmy231 said: "Controversy? Perhaps. Would a genuine Banksy like this sell for hundreds of thousands? Definitely."
Moremiles said: "Are the children aware that many people hold the national flag in a lot of esteem and actually many people have served and died carrying it?
"Are they even aware that as expressive as it may be it could actually be seen as hugely offensive to the very people that fight and have fought to give them their freedom of expression?"