Mayor Fischer announces steps to explore Louisville’s history and values through public art and monuments

December 11, 2017

Process will set principles to ensure art showcases community values

In an effort to ensure Louisville’s public art and monuments not only tell our history but also showcase our community values, Mayor Greg Fischer today announced steps to establish principles for such works, while creating additional opportunities for artists to explore issues of race, discrimination, xenophobia and values.

“Art plays an important role in not only telling the stories of our past but vividly highlighting who we are and who we want to be,” Mayor Fischer said. “2017 has highlighted the immense amount of work left to do to create a country where liberty and justice are enjoyed by all citizens, regardless of race or creed.”

The city’s plan includes:

Mayoral Advisory Committee to Establish Principles for Louisville’s Public Art and Monuments: This newcommittee will begin work in January 2018 on what is estimated to be a six-month process. The committee members will be appointed by the Mayor and include representation from the city’s Commission on Public Art (COPA). Members will determine their meeting schedule and methods; meetings will be open to the public. The culmination of the Committee’s work will be a report to the Mayor.

Reclaiming Public Spaces for Untold Stories Louisville Public Space Art Fund Grant Opportunity: Recent community conversation and public input have highlighted the need for artwork that celebrates Louisville’s current cultural values. Through funds allocated via the fee-in-lieu option in the Land Development Code, COPA will offer a grant opportunity, inviting artists and nonprofit organizations to submit public art proposals that focus on untold stories and reflect our community’s current cultural values.  Louisville Metro Government (LMG) is also looking for community and foundation partners to grow this fund and expand the work.

Metro Hall Rotunda Art Exhibition: For the past several years, LMG has contracted with Louisville Visual Art to curate and install exhibitions of local artists’ work in public spaces within Metro Hall. The 2018 exhibition provides a timely opportunity to utilize this platform for art exhibits, and an exhibition titled “HEROES” will include artwork that responds to historical and present injustice and our community’s future, with visual representations of everyday heroes by Louisville-based artists. A public event will be held to introduce the artists and encourage discussion of their works.

Additional programming and events that give Louisvillians the opportunity to learn, discuss and explore the history around race and discrimination in our city and nation will be announced early next year, the Mayor said.

These efforts continue the Mayor’s nationally recognized work in building Louisville as an international city through the Office for Globalization and as a showcase city for racial equity through programs like BeTheOne, Black Male Achievement, Louisville Promise and many others.  

“It’s important to remember that we are not responsible for a history created before we were born or when we were children,” Mayor Fischer said.  “We are responsible for knowing that history, understanding its impact, and creating our own legacy for the people of Louisville today, tomorrow and beyond. I believe these efforts will make us stronger.”