Just a few days before it was set to open, an art exhibit focusing on Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer was “unceremoniously” cancelled.
Robrt Pela, the show’s curator, says he’s looking for another place to hold the show, which was supposed to open Friday, according to his Facebook page.
Pela didn’t give a reason for the sudden cancellation, only that the Willo North Gallery, “unceremoniously cancelled my exhibition, THE JOE AND JAN SHOW.”
Given the timing and theme of the show, the unexpected decision will stir up a lot of conspiracy talk.
One commenter on Pela’s Facebook page wrote, “sounds like an elbow from the ‘Top.’” Pela did not immediately respond to emails, but the gallery’s owner was available for a phone interview.
Kristin Shears says she shut down the show after Pela resigned from the gallery on Monday.
“After that I really felt that I couldn’t hang the show and get it ready in time,” Shears said Tuesday. “I take full responsibility for this.”
The gallery owner says no one asked to keep the show from opening. In fact, Shears said she’s closing the art space in central Phoenix permanently because she can’t afford to keep it open.
The show was scheduled to show the work of more than a dozen artists. According to a description, the artwork was, “inspired by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Governor Jan Brewer.”
A painting used to promote the event featured Arpaio wearing a poncho, sombrero and a thick black mustache.
Arpaio and Brewer are well known throughout the country for their tough stance on illegal immigration. Arpaio is perhaps best known for his illegal immigration sweeps and Brewer for signing SB 1070, a tough immigration measure passed in 2010.