Putting an end to art censorship in Idaho.

In March 2016, the Idaho State Police sent undercover agents into the Visual Arts Collective to monitor a burlesque performance by acclaimed Idaho artist Anne McDonald of Frankly Burlesque. Two months later, Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control threatened to revoke the Visual Arts Collective’s license to serve alcohol, citing an antiquated liquor law that prohibited women from revealing “any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.” License revocation would have put the Visual Arts Collective, an award-winning art gallery in Garden City, Idaho, out of business.

The outdated law forced artists throughout the state to censor their live performances. Even critically acclaimed plays could not be performed anywhere alcohol was for sale. The ACLU of Idaho represented the Visual Arts Collective, McDonald, and the Alley Repertory Theater in challenging the statute. In less than two weeks, the State of Idaho caved. It agreed to a permanent injunction halting enforcement of the law and ending art censorship in live venues across Idaho.


Richard Eppink, Deborah Ferguson, Craig Durham, Jack Van Valkenburgh

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Ferguson Durham, PLLC; Van Valkenburgh Law, PLLC


United States District Court for the District of Idaho


B. Lynn Winmill



Case number


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