Mayor Ginther Directs Christopher Columbus Statue to be Removed
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther today announced that the Christopher
Columbus statue on the Broad Street side of City Hall will be removed as soon
as possible and placed in storage. He has charged the Columbus Art Commission
to lead an effort to replace the statue with public artwork that better
reflects the people of Columbus and offers a shared vision for the future.
“For many people in our community, the statue represents
patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness. That does not represent our great
city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past,” said Mayor
Ginther. “Now is the right time to replace this statue with artwork that
demonstrates our enduring fight to end racism and celebrate the themes of
diversity and inclusion.”
Mayor Ginther asked the Columbus Art Commission to launch a
community-driven process that embraces diversity. This participatory process
will help determine how to best replace the statue and evaluate the diversity
and inclusiveness of all public art, including other monuments, statues and art
installations, and the artists, identifying gaps. The Commission has also been
asked to reimagine other symbols associated with the City, including the seal
and flag, and to make recommendations for change.
The Arts Commission will also help determine the final
disposition of the Columbus statue, working with appropriate stakeholders and
leaving open the opportunity to display it elsewhere, in proper context, to
help future generations better understand how the statue played into our
country’s ongoing and evolving conversation around race and equity, and why it
was ultimately removed.
“By replacing the statue, we are removing one more barrier
to meaningful and lasting change to end systemic racism,” said Mayor Ginther.
“Its removal will allow us to remain focused on critical police reforms and
increasing equity in housing, health outcomes, education and employment.”
The Columbus Art Commission was established by Columbus City
Code and is responsible for the approval of all art purchased, commissioned or
accepted as a gift by the City, as well as all art proposed for placement
anywhere within the public right-of-way or on property owned or leased by the
City. The Christopher Columbus statue was a gift from the people of Genoa,
Italy in 1955.