Mosaic misspelling flap won't die

Will the East Coast Editor please sit down for this one?  It's painful.

Mosaic misspelling flap won't die

By Lisa P. White


LIVERMORE - In the newspaper business, reporters benefit from copy editors who diligently check -- and then double check -- their stories before the paper hits newsstands.

Professional artists don't have anyone reviewing their work before its unveiled, but since numerous spelling errors were discovered in the ceramic tile mosaic in front of the new Livermore Public Library, Gail Shearer thinks maybe they should.

'Many people writing need an editor. They need someone to check their spelling before it's submitted to the public, and I would say she's one of these people,' said Shearer about Maria Alquilar, the Miami-based artist who designed and installed the $40,000 artwork.

The trouble started in May, when the $26 million library opened. The errors in nine of the names spelled out in the mosaic were glaring to some residents. 'Shakespeare' is missing the second 'a,' Michelangelo includes an extra 'a' and 'Einstein' has one 'n' too few.

Alquilar has defended her work, saying the spellings were 'interpretive,' but in May she said she had offered to make replacement tiles at a cost of $125 each.

At the Livermore City Council meeting Monday, Shearer and a small group of her fellow spelling sticklers asked that city staff members research options for correcting the misspelled names. The group suggested negotiating with Alquilar to make the corrections, having the city attorney determine the legal options available to the city, looking at the feasibility of mounting a 'corrections' plaque and determining how to pay for any corrections.

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