Saturday, August 13, 2005

Expensive misspelling

Tell your students (as you undoubtedly do) that they need to spell correctly and that they should check their spelling. Not doing so can turn out to be an expensive proposition. That's what the folks in Livermore, Calif., found out in 2004 when they spent $40,000 for a mosaic for their new library. The artwork contained 175 words, many of them names of writers, scientists and artists. Some 11 of those words were misspelled. They included Shakespeare (Shakespere), Einstein (Eistein), and Gauguin (Gaugan). The Miami artist who executed the work at first claimed artistic license (maybe some of your students have used the same excuse) but later said she would fix the problem words. Unfortunately, the city of Livermore is having to pay her $6,000 plus expenses to do that. California law requires that public artwork cannot be changed without the consent of the artist. Some people are blaming city and library officials as well as the artist, saying they should have checked the spelling before approving the artwork. You can read more about this in the news stories of the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times (registration required).

Read more about journalism and issues facing the profession at

No comments: