I’m very saddened by the recent story that I read on Fan of the Fan: Art 180 ordered to remove portraits from Monument Avenue. With all the excitement regarding the art projects happening right now in the city, I believe this is a disappointing step backward. This is my first year working with Art 180 and I can tell you first-hand that the program is amazing and the What Do You Stand For art project should be on full display on Monument Ave.

Here is the email from Marlene Paul, co-founder and executive director of Art 180

Despite the enormous outpouring of positive comments we’ve heard about our Monument Avenue exhibition–and the great photo on the front page of yesterday’s Times-Dispatch, we have been ordered to remove them by Friday.

This is a shock and disappointment, given that we have been working since last summer to follow protocol and seek the necessary approval, and we have a permit from the City’s Department of Public Works for them to remain on Monument until May 4.

Some of our fellow citizens feel that we should never have been granted permission to display the portraits on The Grand Avenue, and this is a case of people w/ money and influence vetoing City authority–where is the fairness in that? I spoke directly with one of these unhappy Monument residents, who had already contacted the Mayor’s office and won over Councilman Charles Samuels (who is, conveniently, up for reelection in a hotly-contested race). This one resident is apparently not alone, as there have been other complaints to City Hall. I don’t know how many, and I am struggling to understand why their voices can cause the revocation of a legally obtained permit. I am equal parts outraged, brokenhearted, exasperated, and proud that the portraits are on Monument right now, regardless of how long they stay.


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