ABOVE: NBC'S Kerry Sanders interviews Nemhauser and Jastrzebski.
UPDATE 4/24: To see the Today Show segment that aired today, click here
Last Thursday was almost a day like any other in the Jastrzebski/Nemhauser household, until a popular national news correspondent and his crew rolled in. Soon the Mount Dora family’s great room was transformed into a bustling studio for an on-camera interview.
National correspondent Kerry Sanders and his NBC News crew had arrived to cover van Gogh Gate--the family’s constitutional fight against the City to keep a mural depicting a local artist’s interpretation of the famous “Starry Night” painting.
ABOVE: Sanders interviews artist Richard Barrenchea front of portion of mural.
After heavy regional media coverage, it was a only a matter of time before the David-and-Goliath story gained national exposure. Sanders and his crew spent over four hours at the home, shooting the mural and setting up equipment for a sit-down interview with the homeowners. The news crew also reached out to neighbors, the City, and the artist for comments. The end result will likely be a one-minute-and-forty-second segment to air during tomorrow’s popular “Today Show” at approximately 7:50 a.m. Depending on the volume of news, the segment could get rescheduled or aired again during other NBC News programming.
ABOVE: Kerry Sanders (right) poses with Nemhauser (left).
The saga began almost a year ago when the homeowners, Lubek Jastrzebski and Nancy Nemhauser, were issued a Notice of Violation for graffiti after the mural was painted on their exterior wall. This puzzled the homeowners, who had previously inquired with city officials whether permission was needed before beginning the painting. Nemhauser was reportedly told no approvals were needed, which aligns with the fact that Mount Dora has no codes that address murals or house paint colors in residential neighborhoods. Months later, the city dropped the graffiti violation and instead deemed the mural a signage violation.
Eventually, the city government levied steep fines against the homeowners and that’s when a constitutional watchdog organization, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), stepped in to represent the family. The group has a track record of winning the cases it has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and has since won an injunction against the city. PLF has vowed to proceed to the highest court for adjudication if needed.