Letter to the Editor: Vandalism of artwork in Cedar City is ‘a sign of the times’

Sign reading "We Need Trump | Make American Great" is back on fence after being repainted following a vandalism incident in Cedar City, Utah, August 2020 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

OPINION — This letter is in regard to an article that appeared in Cedar City News on Aug. 18 regarding a vandalized sign in Cedar City. I grew up in that neighborhood where Coal Creek, the mountains and open fields were my pastimes. Today, the open fields are city parks and the vandalized sign is literally “a sign of the times” we live in.

We all have freedom of speech, and the owner of this sign used six words not including you or vote. He did use the word “We,” a pronoun used to refer to himself and one or more other people considered together. Looking at the sign, knowing the meaning of the word, “we,” I wonder if the owner is referring to he and his wife, who just celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary?

Personally, I don’t see a political sign, I see a work of art, handmade, hand-painted, by a professional sign-painter whose skill pool dwindles daily. The artist is in his golden years, probably 81, the canvas is plywood, the color palette utilizes only four colors with four styles of font. His signature is the unique single stroke lettering technique shown in brown. I’ve seen his signature on signs all over Utah, into Colorado and Nevada, to include the vintage “Chinese Garden” sign from Cedar now located in The Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Yes, this artist gets around.

This sign has been vandalized six previous times with profanity and vulgar words, the most recent vandalism led to an on-duty police officer temporarily taking down the sign in the early morning hours. The owner of the sign totally repainted the entire sign, revamped the wording and posted the sign back on his fence on his private property, and yes he does own both sides of the fence. Actually, I’m surprised he didn’t put up a billboard on his property, for those of us who lived in Southern Utah between 1970-1990 remember the giant “Welcome to Cedar City” and “Welcome to St. George” billboards built from the ground up by this artisan and sign-painter.

I would like to thank the Cedar City Police Department and the entire neighborhood who wrote down license plates, vehicle descriptions, took surveillance video and photos, called 911 and informed the authorities regarding the vandalized sign. To the people who believe these actions are entrapment, they are not; I believe it’s karma.

I’ve always loved growing up on this side of town and I’m proud of this community and for standing up for what is right and for having lawful good character. And to the vandals, ask your parents if you can post a sign on their property, purchase the materials and create your own work of art, pick your canvas out of wood, tin, plastic or vinyl, use your own color palette, and choose your words wisely. And if you don’t know an artist, I do — that artist is my dad.

Submitted by TONJA WIDICK-WEAVER, Rockwood, Tennessee.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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