By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 06, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Whether or not "Wishes in the Wind" – the painting by Milwaukee artist David Lenz that depicts a Latina girl, a white boy and African-American girl playing on the sidewalk of a Milwaukee street – was offensive to the governor's politics, removing it from the governor's mansion in Madison has definitely gotten people talking.

Certainly a governor is savvy enough to understand how it would appear to take down such a painting by an award-winning, home-grown artist at the same time that Walker's proposed budget is expected to heavily impact Milwaukee and its children.

I wouldn't venture to guess what's on the governor's mind, though many others aren't hesitating to do so after the removal of the work not only from the drawing room of the mansion but also from Madison.

The painting is headed to the Milwaukee Public Library and today, Mayor Tom Barrett – who, of course, ran against Walker for the governor's chair (and mansion) – released a brief statement on the painting.

"I have long appreciated David Lenz's talent and his efforts to highlight Milwaukee's diversity, culture and vibrant neighborhoods," said Barrett.

"I will do whatever I can to ensure the painting gets the exposure it deserves."

Lenz, coincidentally, was a visitor to the Milwaukee Art Museum this weekend to celebrate the museum's acquisition of his painting "Sam and the Perfect World."

I asked MAM director Dan Keegan about the controversy when I spoke with him this morning in his office.

"I don't think it's politics to be honest with you," he said. "Art at the end of the day is very personal. If they didn't like that painting in their living room or above their mantle, that's fine. It would have been nice if they'd found another place for it. But I think it's got a happy ending, it's coming back to Milwaukee.

"I don't think it's a political thing necessarily, where Scott Walker is looking at the painting, going, 'these aren't my values, these aren't my beliefs.' Of course Scott Walker would say he supports youth and diversity."

The work was replaced with a painting of a bald eagle.

Lenz told the daily paper this weekend that he indeed intended to make a statement with the work.

"This painting was an opportunity for future governors to look these three children in the eye, and I hope, contemplate how their public policies might affect them and other children like them. I guess that was a conversation Gov. Walker did not want to have."

It's hard to imagine how anyone could be displeased by Lenz's image of three urban kids having fun making bubbles, but I bet the governor knows his constituents pretty well and didn't make the decision without an eye toward what the response would be.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.