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Public Art Committee meets after recent vandalism

"No matter what side of the issue you're on, your voice will be heard. That's why we're here," said Cathy Shannon, Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Heritage, hate or history?

“It seems the sculpture has had a number of different histories and has meant very different things to different communities and I think that's something we're going to have to work very hard to reconcile,” said Dr. Chris Reitz, Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee.

It’s a question facing a new commission hand-picked by Mayor Greg Fischer.

“No matter what side of the issue you're on, your voice will be heard. That's why we're here,” said Cathy Shannon, Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee.

But for one person sitting in the meeting, the issue is a part of his heritage.

“My father 70 years ago sued the city of Louisville so black Americans could go to the golf courses,” said Maurice Sweeney, who attended the meeting.

Sweeney says his father fought for rights in Louisville and decades later he says he's continuing the tradition. That's why he decided to attend the first meeting where the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee will decide the fate of statues like the John B. Castleman statue. Castleman was a Confederate soldier who later joined the U.S. Army after the Civil War.

“He fought for both sides. So yeah, it should stay. It's a part of our history,” said Ginny Stottman, who attended the meeting.

Stottman says the statue is also a part of her heritage. Castleman is her great-great uncle.

“You can tear down statues all day long and once those statues are gone, there's still going to be a problem because it's going to go to something else,” Stottman said.

Facing a range of different opinions and feelings, the group of seven will decide the principles and stipulations of public art in Louisville now and in the future.

RELATED: Two Louisville statues vandalized

The committee did not set dates for their next meetings yet. They plan to meet every three to four weeks at different locations and times. Mayor Greg Fischer has given them a deadline of June to come up with the list of principles.

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