Mayor Greg Fischer and the Commission on Public Art today made public the nearly 850 comments that citizens made through an online form regarding a review of public art in Louisville. The comments can be found here: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-art/public-art-review
The comments range from those who argue that no statues should be removed to those who say the review should include the naming of streets and public buildings, as well as those who say this is a complex issue that requires greater consideration.
Also today, the Mayor also released this statement:
“I want to thank the Commission on Public Art for holding a community meeting tonight to hear from citizens about art in public places that could be interpreted to be honoring bigotry, racism and/or slavery. I look forward to hearing their summary of the meeting.
“That meeting is the first in a series of events that the city will lead over the next few months in a community dialogue about inclusion, racial equity, and the impact of racism and slavery on our city and our country. We will announce those events in the near future.
“Many of those conversations are already happening through entities as the Speed Art Museum, whose Southern Accent exhibit explores the South’s influence on American culture; to Simmons College, which is leading a discussion on social and economic disparities that exist in our community; to Louisville Metro Government’s own Center for Health Equity and our work with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity and its Racial Equity Here program.
“I invite everyone in the community to take part in one or more of the many opportunities to engage in these conversations over the coming months.
“I have been struck by the many comments that I have received after Charlottesville that demonstrate not only a desire to learn more about the issues behind the displays of racism and mayhem in Virginia, but also the large absence of baseline knowledge around the institution of slavery, its moral issues, its economic underpinnings, and how it impacts our city and country to this day. For us not to use this moment in our country’s history to advance our democracy would be an abdication of responsibility and a significant lost opportunity to build our collective capacity to grow a more dynamic, equitable, and inclusive future.
“We can only be a city where all citizens can reach their full human potential if we face our big challenges head-on, and this includes the challenges of race and equity. I believe Louisville has developed enough social muscle to have a deep, productive, and sometimes uncomfortable community conversation about these challenges.”