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"Should Arthur Ashe be on Monument Avenue?" Sculptor Defers to City in Ashe Monument Fight

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You give me way too much credit writing, "DiPasquale fought to place his bronze likeness of ... Ashe on Monument Avenue" ("Pivotal Moments," Cover Story, Jan. 31). It was certainly the city's fight. As the sculptor, my only interest was to see Mr. Ashe aptly acknowledged and honored in his hometown with his authorization and then family's approval.

The original suggestion of the Monument Avenue site was one of several given by Mayor Kenney's City Council once it found out I had done the proof statue in February 1994. The routing through the Urban Design Committee, the City Planning Commission and then Mayor Young's City Council was all repeated when that council wanted it to go through all the committees again.

This process proved to expose hidden agendas and truths through a public art dialogue that was ultimately good for our city's growth and its national image. A pivotal shift in thinking occurred for minds open to the 21st century: changed to "Why shouldn't Arthur Ashe be on Monument Avenue?"

Richmond's "self-image" is, as you write, "still forming." It is still "frothing" among those lobbied and persuaded in the tight circle of the localized art gallery committee who objected to the artistic value of the statue and still do. Clearly they will take to the grave their wish that they had won their fight with the city to keep this monument off Richmond's famous avenue. Meanwhile, in the world outside Richmond, critics with credentials continue to applaud the success of this monument for the city and Virginia.

Was it "a clumsy step toward reconciling the city's identity ..."? Only by the people clumsy in their thought and action who lost, for good reasons, lucky for Richmond.

Paul DiPasquale
DiPasquale Sculpture LLC
Richmond

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