- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Neighbors say a Manheim Township yard display has sexual images that are inappropriate.

Tony Papadimitriou says his display is art.

The art is five painted panels, standing more than 8 feet tall, depicting nude people and statues.

It is set up in Papadimitriou’s front yard in the heavily traveled first block of West Roseville Road, not far from the Fruitville Pike.

Papadimitriou says he’s within his rights to display the panels.

“It’s my constitutional right to put anything I want in my yard, as long as it’s art,” Papadimitriou said Monday.

But at least two of neighbors say it’s inappropriate for their children to have to view the panels out of the window of their school buses.

Brian Stern, of Sturbridge Drive, said he appreciates art, and art that includes nudity is OK in its proper place.

But the display in Papadimitriou’s front yard “is just inappropriate,” Stern said Monday.

Stern and his wife are the parents of daughters ages 5 and 7. The older daughter’s school bus passes Papadimitriou’s house.

“I shouldn’t have to be answering questions about sexual images from my daughters at this age, or any age,” Stern said Monday.

Jackie Gillespie, also of Sturbridge Drive, said her fifth-grade daughter told her about the images.

“I feel very uncomfortable when my daughter gets off the school bus and says all the kids were talking about it and it’s embarrassing to them,” Gillespie said Monday, acknowledging that she had not yet seen the images herself.

Papadimitriou, 63, said he purchased the panels at a yard sale on Lampeter Road about a month ago and put two cans of clear lacquer on each one.

He believes they are from a set for a play or a movie. He believes it’s a play, but he doesn’t know which one.

“I’m a very unique man,” he said. “All my neighbors are complaining about my artwork. I don’t mean (any) harm. It’s just fun. I have eight grandkids.”

Papadimitriou took classes toward an undergraduate degree in art education in the early 1970s and painted some before choosing to go into the real estate business. He bought his first property in Lancaster city in 1970, when he was 19 years old. He now owns 50 rental properties in the city and is semi-retired.

Besides art, he collects antiques, including, among many other items, typewriters, phones with cords, a barber’s towel-warmer and old radios.

Papadimitriou’s recently acquired five-panel display sits among various other decorations that Papadimitriou said have drawn ire and police reports from his nearby neighbors - pink flamingos, a pink toilet and a pink mailbox among them.

Two of the five panels depict nude figures.

One of the panels shows a statue of a couple in which the woman is topless and both the man and woman are wearing fig leaves over their genitals.

Another shows two women. In the background, one is naked with her hands covering her genitals.

Papadimitriou said he has three reasons for the display.

The first goes to his heritage, as someone born in Greece.

“I’m Greek and I believe in democracy,” he said. “Greeks invented democracy.”

The other reasons are his fondness for the panels and what he says is his right to display what he wants.

Neighbors have no reason to complain, he said.

“No reason at all. They should go to Italy and see the statue of David.”

“The more they complain,” he said of his neighbors, “the more (stuff) I’m going to put out there. And there’s nothing the township can do about it.”

Manheim Township manager Sean Molchany said the office had received no complaints about the property. He did not respond to a follow-up question regarding whether the displays violate township code.

Township police Lt. Tom Rudzinski said the department has received complaints about the property and, at last check, had found no decorations in violation of the law.





Information from: Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era , https://lancasteronline.com

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