Tuesday morning, it was discovered one of the panels is missing from its base, in the 2000 block of Monument Avenue.
Local non-profit Art 180 did everything right in obtaining their permit to display more than two dozen 4 x 8 panels, painted by area fifth and sixth graders.
Yet, there was a mistake made at the city’s end, and after the massive exhibits were settled into the median along Monument Avenue, where they would stay until May 4, the city revoked the permit.
The city admits they made a mistake and said that to revoke the permit was the only option.
“The ordinance in question prohibits any placement of placards or signage, any kind of visual expression on the median strip in the city of Richmond,” said Special Event Coordinator Allen Rothert.
And once the mistake was caught, if the city allowed it to stay, they said the situation could only get worse in the future.
“Art 180 is well recognized around the city, we all love what they do, but today its children’s art that everybody loves. Tomorrow, if we let this precedent stand, it could be something very negative,” said Rothert.
Many say that there appears to be a double standard, since at other times, signs and other items appear in the same median, but Rothert said that the big difference is the special use permit.
“Once you’ve closed a street down, the right of way is defined by curb to curb and anything from curb to curb is yours to use at your disposal for a special event” he said.
Venture Richmond, which manages the big event Easter on Parade, is using their special event permit to allow the panels to stay up, until after the parade is over on Sunday afternoon.
The city said they will work with Art 180 to move the panels to a city park or area where they are allowed and can still be seen by the public.
A move by some homeowners, who would like to put one or two panels in their front yard, may run into trouble, since that area of Monument Avenue falls in a historic district, with strict guidelines concerning the home and what’s allowed in the front yard.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Richmond metro residents plan to host a demonstration in response to the city’s decision. Residents will walk the length of the art exhibit, meeting at Allen and Monument Avenues.