Does a sunset look lovelier when it is setting behind the statue of the Confederate soldier in Hemming Park, sans the sounds of goose-stepping or lumbering as seems to be the case with American Nazis—feet?
The rumblings started over the weekend: Art Walk was canceled; Mal Jones of the Lyricist Hour was told he couldn’t perform; Art Walk was being overrun by Nazis; Art Walk was being held “indoors.”
As it turns out, a portion of the information was correct. The Lyricist Hour was relocated to the Museum of Science and History, and Art Walk—or whatever was left of it—was held indoors, and Nazis were expected in the city center. The event normally draws a crowd of about 8,000, but last night the streets were appreciably empty. People seemed to be roaming around aimlessly...it certainly was a return to the days of a deserted downtown—except now there’s no place to sit in Hemming Park—but we digress.
Yesterday, Folio Weekly got a tip that in defiance of the possible Nazi occupation of Hemming Park to protest the proposed removal of the monument, a group of artists was quietly mobilizing. The plan: act as individuals, bring paper and pencil, and draw through the protest (or whatever the correct term is for a bunch of angry white folk trying to hold a historical line against racism and hate).
As of our arrival, there were about 11 artists quietly perched around the monument, and nary a white hood or Valknut in obvious site.
When we asked a police officer if there were more than the standard number of police units on hand, he said “no.”
According to the Daily Record, Jake Gordon, the CEO of the nonprofit organization, Downtown Vision Inc., which organizes the walk, said the move indoors was made because of safety concerns and business opportunities for the artists, only partially because of “political demonstrations.”
Which of course raises important questions like who gets to occupy public spaces, how are disagreements handled, and possibly most important: why American Nazis with their intimations of violence took precedence over an event that has taken place for years—with a handful of tragic exceptions—peacefully.
We are guessing that this won’t be the last intersection (attempted or otherwise) between artists (upon whose backs Art Walk has been built) and the kinds of repulsive domestic terrorists who like to burrow into a nonexistent “glorious” past and shit on the nice things everyone else has created.