IBJNews

Cultural Trail leaders cancel plans for controversial statue

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Central Indiana Community Foundation and Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. have pulled the plug on a controversial sculpture depicting a freed slave.

"E Pluribus Unum," proposed by New York artist Fred Wilson, won't be built on the trail, trail founder Brian Payne announced Tuesday. He also is the foundation's CEO.

The decision came after a series of town hall meetings prompted by opposition to Wilson's use of the slave image. Wilson would have used a figure similar to the freed slave depicted on the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, placing him alone holding a colorful flag representing the African diaspora.

Originally, the sculpture was slated for East Washington Street in front of the City-County Building, but Payne changed that plan as controversy swirled around the project. Wilson's proposal, part of the trail’s $2 million public art program, drew opposition from local African-Americans.

"Our intention was to be inclusive and commission artists of color, including Fred Wilson," Payne said in a prepared statement. "Regretfully, this proposed work has inflamed a number of long-standing sensitivities within our African-American community.

"We can now move forward together to create a new public art/memorial project for the Cultural Trail for which we can all be proud—which has always been our intent at CICF."

CICF held seven community meetings, one large town hall discussion and created a website around the project. It spent $75,000 on the design and on coordinating public input.

Now the foundation will put $175,000 toward the creation of the new public art project. A group of community advocates who participated in the discussions about "E Pluribus Unum" will be involved as an advisory panel. Members have not yet been named.

A kickoff meeting will be scheduled in early 2012 and promoted through www.indyculturaltrail.org.

Michael Saahir, a member of the group Citizens Against Slave Image, said the new plan "appears to be promising."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Snort!
    The whole concept of a "Cultural Trail" is a waste of taxpayers' money... even if it were 100% funded by donors. It's a waste of valuable vehicular rights-of-way in too many places. For example; Fountain Square. I'm waiting for the first major fatality involving its mere presence. Another waste of major proportions is the Georgia Street Project. Half the driveways can't be accessed via left turns (besides the major thoroughfares being labeled No Left Turn), plus the fact that some of the RIGHT turns can't be negotiated by anything larger than a so-called "Smart Car". There's one place in particular that I'm sorely tempted to address with a Sawzall and/or a jackhammer...
  • Cultural Trail
    Devisiveness is rampant and has been made worse by PC. Too many people looking for reasons to be offended. And a large contributor is dividing Americans into groups.

    We all should celebrate our historical cultures but no one should be an African American or an Asian American. We should be Americans pure and simple.

    Perhaps if we could stop talking about our divisive "communities" and be proud to be Americans, we could all get along better.
  • Scorn??
    "... the scorn of national art critics." My recollection is that some or all of the national art personalities that commented were positive about the piece.
  • We look Like Soliders
    Instead images of freed slaves we should rememember the hundreds of african-american who went out to fight to free their brothers and sisters in the south. It is they who should be remembered.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

ADVERTISEMENT