Baltimore seeks ideas on replacing confederate statues

Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-01 22:18:02-04

Katrina Deville is visiting from Tampa and couldn’t help but take a picture, she and Steve Francois instantly recognized the void as they were walking in Mount Vernon.

"It will stop you in your tracks when you see an empty monument,” Deville said.

The three platforms which used to hold confederate monuments in Baltimore are becoming quite the attraction.

Large blank bases and in some cases, even the impression of a plaque that once described what was there calls to those who revel in the removal of a confederate statue, or ascribe to the possibilities of what could or should replace it.

It is an open conversation in Baltimore and one the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts wants to capture and explore with an online portal to build a clearinghouse for this city's vision.

"People can submit ideas from anything from temporary to permanent replacement ideas. We don't really know what will happen next and we don't know what the city will decide to do but this is a great way to aggregate and collect the kind of creative responses that artists and citizens are coming up with," said BOPA Art Administrator Ryan Patterson.

BOPA says it's gotten about 20 ideas so far but there is no timeline on making a decision.

In the meantime, some people say the fact that the pedestals are empty, is art in and of itself.

"I think it's nice to keep it open for the time being so people can acknowledge the history that was just made by these things being taken down and what people see as a vision of hate. It's been very controversial, but I think for the best," Deville said.

But eventually the city would like to replace a sign of division with one of unity.

Baltimore is looking to own this process and encourage the public input on what should come next.

While Mayor Catherine Pugh’s task force continues to study the specifics on how to handle that part, BOPA is soliciting the ideas.

For many, that is a more welcomed debate.

"Instead of there being another argument, another reason for people to be all up in arms,  they took care of the problem and now it is more fun to debate what we are going to do with these empty spaces rather than if they should become empty or not,” Francois said. 

If you have a vision you would like to share with the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, click here to submit your idea to the portal.