Vandals strike Castleman Statue, again

Vandals strike Castleman Statue, again
The latest vandalisum to the Castleman statue was found on April 12. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)
Orange paint has been thrown on the Castleman Statue on two occasions. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)
Orange paint has been thrown on the Castleman Statue on two occasions. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)
The word "traitor" was spray painted on the other side of the base. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)
The word "traitor" was spray painted on the other side of the base. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The word "racist" was found spray painted on the base of the John B. Castleman Monument in the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood on Thursday morning.

The statue itself was vandalized in February after the city paid about $8,000 for cleanup of another act of vandalism in August 2017.

Currently, the Castleman statue and George Prentice statue, which stands outside the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, both have a bright colored paint splattered on them.

On Monday, the Louisville Metro Commission on Public Art placed a sign at both statues informing the public that the statues would remain as is until a decision was made during a series of public meetings held until June.

Gary Barch is planning the Cherokee Triangle Art Fair held at the end of April. The Castleman statue is located within the art fair.

Barch said the impact of the statue is not lost on organizers.

"I think everyone is aware of the sensitivity of this in the community," Barch said.

Cleaning up the recent spray paint on the Castleman base won't create any additional costs for the city. Will Ford, Communications Specialist with Metro Louisville Code and Regulations, said graffiti abatement crews were notified.

Six months after Castleman's first clean up the statue was vandalized again, along with the Prentice statue. Both statues will remain marked for the time being.

"This vandalism is worrying because it's educational and it gets people to talk about what happened," Debra Masterson, spokesperson for the Meade County Tourism Office, said.

Masterson remembered when another controversial statue in Louisville was up for debate. The confederate soldier monument was located on the University of Louisville campus. In 2016, the university and the city paid $400,000 dollars to move it.

"They wanted to put it in storage and we just thought it was a shame," Masterson said.

Masterson said there haven't been any issues of vandalism in Brandenburg, known for its Civil War history.

Louisville Mayor Fischer provided a quote in regards to the vandalism that reads in part:

"Vandalism is not the way to share diverse views. It is costly, divisive and ultimately ineffective since it basically is a one-way conversation. We have initiated a community dialogue about public art, including a meeting of our Public Art and Monument Advisory Committee."

A decision regarding the statues will not be made before the Public Art and Monument Advisory Committee meetings end in June.

A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Davidson Hall on UofL's campus. Another meeting will be on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Cyril Allgeier Community Center on Cadillac Court.

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