ART BANNED IN VIRGINIA
Catalyst October Issue 2000
The city of Norfolk, Virginia wanted to put a piece of art at a downtown intersection but didn’t have the money to do so. Instead, they decided to borrow a piece from the Chrysler Museum of Art until a permanent display could be funded. But when a Jewish group protested, the art was removed. The artwork was a statue of St. Francis of Assisi.
The art was on display for a month before anyone complained. Then officials at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater got involved. “A public place should feature art that is inclusive—not art that commemorates a single religion,” said Rabbi Israel Zoberman. Town officials buckled and scrapped the art.
City Council member W. Randy Wright chimed in saying, “We need to be sensitive to all of the elements of our community.” We wrote to him asking how the removal of the art could be considered sensitive to Catholics.