U of L archivist says subject of Confederate statue was also father of Louisville's public park system
Crews are chipping away at the orange paint that covers one side of the 15 foot John B. Castleman statue in the middle of Cherokee Road in Cherokee Circle.
A well-known monument was vandalized in the Highlands this weekend after a violent clash in Charlottesville, Virginia over whether to remove a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Crews began chipping away at the orange paint Monday that covers one side of the 15-foot John B. Castleman statue in the middle of Cherokee Road in Cherokee Circle. The paint appears to spell the words "Never Again."
“It seems to be some kind of enamel paint,” said Public Art Administrator Sarah Lindgren. “Right now, it is very soft and sticky.”
Castleman was a Confederate officer, but the statue does not show him wearing a Confederate uniform. He is wearing civilian clothing.
Castleman was not only a Confederate officer who later served in the U.S. Army, but he was also a businessman, founder of the American Saddlebred Horse Association and a pioneer for Louisville's original Olmsted Parks.
“He's being honored because he was the father of our major public park systems,” U of L archivist Tom Owen said.
In light of the violent weekend clash in Charlottesville, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer appointed the Louisville Commission on Public Art to reassess pieces of art publicly displayed around town and make a list of the ones that he says could "honor bigotry, racism and or slavery."
Lindgren said the Castleman statue is one of the pieces the commission will assess, but the others are still being determined.
The group is asking for opinions from the public to help decide the fate of the artwork.
“We'll open it in as many ways as we can to try to get as many voices as possible,” she said.
People can write letters to the city, speak up in person during public meetings, and, according to Lindgren, there will eventually be a way to anonymously fill out a form online.
“We'll set a schedule for meetings for the Commission on Public Art and for the conversations,” Lindgren said.
The commission will make a list of criteria to judge each piece of art based on the feedback.
“Here are some thoughts: Is he wearing military uniform?” Owen said. “Is the purpose of the statue to recognize Confederate military service? What is the text of the marker itself?”
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