Pittsburgh Art Commission

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Art Commission voted unanimously today to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus that has stood in Schenley Park for generations.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Meetings of the City of Pittsburgh Art Commission are not known for heated debates. Attendees are much likelier to witness polite discussions of the architectural details of a new building, or how best to renovate a city park. But a pending debate may not only be fractious, but could concern the powers of the commission itself. 

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Sculptor Frank Vittor’s towering statue of Christopher Columbus was erected in Schenley Park, in 1958, with backing from the Italian-American fraternal group Sons of Columbus in America.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

It’s been two years since the bronze statue of Pittsburgh-born composer Stephen Foster and a barefoot black man playing a banjo was removed from Schenley Plaza. The statue was denounced for decades, but the criticism gained steam in the aftermath of a deadly protest in Charlottesville, Va. over the removal of Confederate monuments.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The former site of the Stephen Foster statue in Oakland is still generating controversy.

PIOTRUS / Wikimedia Commons

Pittsburgh’s controversial statue of composer Stephen Foster could soon be removed from its location in Schenley Plaza.

Pittsburgh’s Art Commission was tasked with deciding the fate of the statue, following public concern and petitions about the city-owned property. The piece depicts Foster seemingly transcribing the music of an enslaved black man, seated at his feet, shoeless.

At its meeting Wednesday afternoon, members of the nine-member commission agreed with the majority of public input received: that the statue is problematic, especially in its current location.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It's been more than two weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico—knocking out the power grid, leaving people homeless and hospitals with dwindling supplies. Despite President Donald Trump's comments contrasting the storm to a "real catastrophe like [Hurricane] Katrina," many in Pittsburgh are eager to respond to the island's needs.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

It’s a 10-foot tall bronze statue on a four-foot tall granite base, that many Pittsburghers want to see moved.

The statue of Stephen Foster exhibited conspicuously in Oakland's Schenley Park, was first displayed in Highland Park.