Several members of the Milwaukee Art Museum's board of directors are reportedly "furious" over an anti-ICE bus mural created by the museum's Teen Art eXpress interns, an Art Museum source told "The Dan O'Donnell Show."
"You are promoting to children, teenagers, and the public at large that you don't have to cooperate with law enforcement," the source said. "This is completely unacceptable."
The source, a high-ranking official with the Milwaukee Art Museum who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said he came forward because he and others are dissatisfied with the museum's explanation for allowing the teenagers to create the mural.
"They said they don't necessarily condone the message but won't censor artists and that's true, but they also don't put money behind their pieces," the source said. "They put money behind this bus. They bought advertising. They paid for it. Of course they condone this message."
The mural covers the entire bus and features ICE agent arresting a small child while another agent arrests the child's mother, another ICE agent with his arms crossed in between two hands attempting to touch. The bus also provides detailed instructions on "what to do if ICE comes to your door."
Both the Art Museum and Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) approved the design, which will adorn the bus for the next month. Spokespeople for both entities said that they did not necessarily condone the message but would not censor the young artists.
The Art Museum source, though, said that it has the potential to do lasting damage to the museum's fundraising efforts and likened it to the 2015 controversy surrounding the museum's display of a portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI created with 17,000 colored condoms.
"That cost us at least a half million dollars in donations," the source said. "This could be just as bad."
Milwaukee County Supervisor Dan Sebring has called on MCTS to take down the mural.
"The racist, anti-law enforcement messages contained in the Milwaukee Art Museum's paid ad on a county bus is an offensive abomination and a slap in the face to law enforcement officers and officials at every level," he said in a news release. "We cannot allow a county bus to be decorated with advertising that includes a 'how-to' guide for illegal immigrants to evade law enforcement. MCTS should remove this so-called 'art' immediately."