Art Commission address concerns over Confederate tied statues - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Art Commission addresses concerns over Confederate tied statues

The John B. Castleman statue was protested during the Charlottesville aftermath. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The John B. Castleman statue was protested during the Charlottesville aftermath. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The Commission on Public Art held a special meeting Wednesday to discusspieces of Louisville's public art. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The Commission on Public Art held a special meeting Wednesday to discusspieces of Louisville's public art. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The Castleman statue was vandalized but has since been cleaned. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The Castleman statue was vandalized but has since been cleaned. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Commission on Public Art held a special meeting Wednesday to discuss whether pieces of Louisville's public art could be interpreted as honoring discrimination, racism, bigotry or slavery.

"Up until three weeks ago, there's never been any controversy involving this iconic, beautiful, artfully sculpted statue," Gayle Morris said.

There were a diverse set of opinions.

"The white washing of John Castleman's history by all of the people in this room is nothing short of racist," Donny Greene said.

However, the crowd present during the meeting, was not diverse.

"It seems like a certain socioeconomic, racial makeup, of the speaker," Julie Sullivan said. "I'm assuming it's because of the 4 o'clock meeting time."

"We will be having more meetings at other times and other places," Anna Tatman, the commission chair said.

The meeting was sparked after a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that then fueled national protests of statues with Confederate ties.

"Most people don't want them down," Germaine Whitehouse said.

The John B. Castleman statue was protested during the Charlottesville aftermath. 

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He was a Confederate officer during the Civil War and was sentenced to death for spying on the U.S., but was pardoned.

Castleman was also a notable businessman and played a role in establishing the Olmsted Park system.

"We have a lot of great people in Louisville we can put up in it's place," a speaker at the meeting said.

The Castleman statue is just one of 400 pieces of art the commission must review. If anything were to go in its place, it wouldn't happen anytime soon.

The next Commission on Public Art meeting with be posted on louisvilleky.gov.

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