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UPDATED: City Says Avenue Art Must Go

Permit granted for Monument Avenue art exhibit was a "mistake," city says.

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UPDATE: The Monument Avenue Preservation Society, after its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, issued a statement of support for Art 180's exhibit on Monument Avenue.

"The MAPS board continues to enthusiastically support Art180's 'What Do You Stand For' project, and we hope the murals can remain in the neighborhood through the Easter on Parade event this weekend," Bill Tate, president of the preservation society, said in a statement. "That event, combined with last week's 10K race, will provide exposure for the project during the two highest traffic periods for the Avenue."

Meanwhile, while the city has yet to confirm when the murals must come down, Marlene Paul, co-founder and executive director of Art 180, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the city has given her nonprofit until Monday to remove the art work.

The murals on Monument Avenue have to go. City Hall has decreed that Art 180’s roving exhibit, “What Do You Stand For,” must be removed. It’s unclear, however, when exactly the exhibit must come down.

Tammy Hawley, press secretary for Mayor Dwight Jones, issued a statement this afternoon from Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall:

“The city of Richmond supports the arts community and continues to have a good working relationship with Art 180. We recognize the honorable work being done through Art 180 to serve children in the city of Richmond and acknowledge that this work is important to the social fabric of our communities.

“It is unfortunate that an erroneous permit was issued for the display in question. I’ve met with city attorneys today as well as agency officials to review this matter. It is clear that a mistake was made and it is now incumbent upon us to uphold the law.

“The Work in Streets Permit (WISP) was issued in violation of Richmond Code Section 38-113, which details unlawful signage in City medians. A review of the ordinances by which the city issues permits is underway to ensure that city employees have a clear understanding of the parameters involving the city’s right of way management.

“The city will work with Art 180 to assist with potentially putting the display on exhibit in a city park for an extended period.”

It’s unclear as of now if the art has to come down before Easter on Parade this weekend. Late last week, Art 180 was informed that its permit to display the 31-piece exhibit on Monument had been revoked. Marlene Paul, co-founder and executive director of Art 180, says the city Department of Public Works informed her that the exhibit had to be removed by April 6, the Friday before the parade.

On Tuesday, an art walk has been planned on Monument as a show of support for the exhibit, beginning at 7 p.m. in front of the Robert E. Lee monument.

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