Sam Kerson mural

A panel from a mural by Sam Kerson that had been displayed at Vermont Law School in Royalton, Vermont. (Courtesy image/Sam Kerson)

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. — A hearing in the federal lawsuit an artist has filed against Vermont Law School is set to take place at the school this fall.

In a recent filing, U.S. District Court set the hearing for 10 a.m. Oct. 8 in the law school’s Oakes Hall.

The venue is adjacent to VLS’ Chase Community Center, where artist Sam Kerson painted two murals in 1993 and 1994 depicting Vermont’s role in the Underground Railroad. In recent years, criticism of the murals’ depiction of African Americans has led to calls for their removal.

The law school announced plans last year to paint over the murals. Kerson filed suit in December, saying that the federal Visual Artists Rights Act prevents the law school from covering them up.

While U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford ruled in March that the law school could cover the murals, so long as the murals aren’t harmed, he later gave Kerson more time to determine whether the law school’s plan might damage the paintings.

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These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative as part of our race and equity project. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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