Advisory committee discusses future of confederate monuments in Louisville

Advisory committee discusses future of confederate monuments in Louisville
(Source: Daniel Paxton, WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Daniel Paxton, WAVE 3 News)
Orange paint was thrown on the John B. Castleman around 11 p.m. Tuesday, according to Louisville Metro police. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Orange paint was thrown on the John B. Castleman around 11 p.m. Tuesday, according to Louisville Metro police. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE 3) – The Public Arts and Monuments Advisory Committee gathered Wednesday night for the first time and heard public comment on the future of several Louisville statues.

The seven member committee, comprised of community leaders and experts, has been tasked with creating a general list of principles to address the future of controversial art in the city. The members include Tricia Burke, Carolle Jones Clay, Dr. Dewey Clayton, Ashley Haynes, Dr. Tom Owen, Dr. Chris Reitz and Cathy Shannon. Reitz and Shannon represent the Commission on Public Art, according to a release.

The meeting was planned last month. However, the vandalism of the John B. Castleman statue on Tuesday night encouraged people to be more vocal with their concerns.

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"I was upset," attendee Ernest Kettig said. "I'm troubled by people that are ignorant about the heritage of what founded this city and this Commonwealth and they want to erase it and change it."

With a sign advocating to tear down the statue, Rebecca Bernstein wanted her voice heard too.

"I think that we have a choice about what history we want to celebrate and we can no longer afford to celebrate the confederacy," Bernstein said.

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The John B. Castleman statue is in Cherokee Park, which is Councilman Brandon Coan's district. He said the question isn't a simple "stay or go."

"It seems to me the more nuanced appropriate answer here is really if it was going to stay, under what circumstances could it possibly stay," Coan said. "What would need to be added to the context so that this is something that isn't hurtful to people but it can still honor history and serve that purpose."

The committee has already received over 1,000 public comments. They plan to consider what has been done in other cities regarding confederate statues and will make their final recommendation to the mayor in June.

Until then, the committee will have public meetings every three to four weeks.

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