Hundreds weigh in on future of Louisville's public art

Residents weigh in on Louisville's public art

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The statue of John B. Castleman is a historic focal point of the Highlands, but now it is also the center of a public debate.

Castleman, who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War and later for the US Army, has become a talking point on race and racism.

"The racial divide in Louisville is still very strong and we need to find a way to heal that," said one woman at Wednesday's Louisville's Commission on Public Art discussion.

Commissioners heard from more than two dozen people about the future of the city's public art displays, including monuments and statues.  There was no clear answer.

"If we need a statue to remind us of our history, we need better memories," one speaker said.

"Everybody here chooses to be happy.  They choose to be angry. They choose to be sad and they choose to be offended.  This is a situation where people choose to be offended by something," said another speaker.

The commission's meeting comes on the heels of Lexington city leaders who voted to remove two Confederate statues on city owned property.  In Louisville, there was no action after this first meeting, but the commission vowed a comprehensive review of all public art.

The panel will give Mayor Greg Fischer a final recommendation and must consider if the displays have artistic or historic value.

"This piece of art is the heart of our neighborhood.  We don't need a heart transplant. We need to work together to keep our community heart beating," another woman said of the Castleman statue.

You can still give the city your input and look over the 850 public comments received so far by clicking here.  https://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-art/public-art-review

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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