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Landlord Opposes Models Posing Nude For Drawing Class

By Rick Sallinger

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) - A business owner in Longmont is in a fight with her prospective landlord over what is considered art.

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The Trace Center for Integrative Arts and Activism was about to move to a new location, but Lys Anzia says ever since the new landlord found out she'd have nude models in some drawing classes, she doesn't feel welcome.

"I felt denigrated. I felt upset," Anzia said.

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Lys Anzia (credit: CBS)

She was hoping to open an art school with a studio. She informed the landlord the students would sometimes be drawing from naked human subjects.

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"That's the only way you can look at the musculature of the human body," she explained.

The landlord then changed the lease being offered to prohibit any activity that might be considered pornographic.

She was appalled.

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"I felt that putting that into a context of art and the study of art was demeaning to all the artists and the history of figure drawing."

Drawing the line between such art and pornography is usually not so blurry. Furthermore, Anzia said there would be no view of the models from the streets.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger went to the offices of the landlord, Burden Incorporated, in Niwot to get its side of this dispute, but were informed they do not comment on private lease negotiations.

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"You go into any kind of museum anywhere in the country you are going to see nudes, nude statues, nude paintings," Anzia said.

Venus de Milo, the David, and so many other nudes stand as the epitome of art.

The building she was hoping to rent was previously leased by the city of Longmont for the use of artists. That lease has since expired.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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