Work is beginning today to move the George Dennison Prentice statue from outside the Louisville Free Public Library’s main branch into storage at a city facility on Lexington Road.
Preparation for the move starts today, with the actual move expected on Tuesday.
Mayor Greg Fischer announced plans to move the Prentice statue and one of John Breckenridge Castleman in August, after a review of a report issued on June 30 by the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, which he’d asked to develop a guiding set of principles for evaluating existing and future public art and monuments in the city.
The committee held seven public meetings early this year, gathering hundreds of comments from residents throughout the city before submitting its report to the Mayor.
In announcing the decision on the statues in August, Mayor Fischer suggested they might be moved to Cave Hill Cemetery, where both men are buried. Cave Hill declined to have the Prentice statue moved there; the city is still in discussions about moving the Castleman statue there from its existing Cherokee Triangle site.
“Mr. Prentice used his position as founder and long-time editor of the Louisville Journal to advocate an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant message that led to the 1855 Bloody Monday riot where at least 22 people were killed,” the Mayor said. “His statue is especially inappropriate outside the library, a place that encourages education, inclusiveness and compassion.”
No decision has been made about how the site will be used after the statue is moved. Sarah Lindgren, Louisville Metro’s Public Art Administrator, said any proposed artwork or monument on public property would go through the city’s process for ensuring that our public art and monuments respect our history but reflect the values of today.
Information about the city’s proposal and review process for artworks in public places can be found online at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-art. From this web page one can access the Commission on Public Art guidelines, as well as documentation of the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee.