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Knox Mayor Indya Kincannon responds to ‘Black Lives Matter’ street art proposal

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon is speaking out after local art organizers were recently denied a permit to create a ‘Black Lives Matter’ street art project.
In this June 24, 2020, file photo, Antonio Mingo, right, holds his fists in the air as...
In this June 24, 2020, file photo, Antonio Mingo, right, holds his fists in the air as demonstrators protest in front of a police line on a section of 16th Street that's been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza, in Washington. Thousands of Black activists from across the U.S. will hold the 2020 Black National Convention on Aug. 28, 2020, via livestream to produce a new political agenda that builds on the protests that followed George Floyd’s death. Organizers of the gathering shared their plans with The Associated Press on Wednesday, July 1, ahead of an official announcement.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 10:30 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon is speaking out after local art organizers were recently denied a permit to create a ‘Black Lives Matter’ street art project.

“I support Black Lives Matter, and I also support public art. I have seen similar projects in other cities that could work in Knoxville too. We have a process in place for painting City streets, and numerous City leaders worked hard to accommodate this event. Although we all tried our best, the minimum requirements have not yet been met and we were not able to issue a permit.”

Kincannon said the ‘bare minimum’ is getting the community’s support for a project like this. The organizers would be required to get a support petition signed by at least 80 percent of the residents who live or own businesses within two standard city blocks of the proposed project, according to the Decorative Painting of Streets Policy.

“Community buy-in is a critical element of public art projects. The Black Lives Matter street painting in Chattanooga was approved by Public Art Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Department of Transportation and the Chattanooga Public Art Commission. It only took 13 days,” said Public Arts Committee Tanisha Fitzgerald-Baker.

The City of Knoxville reportedly received petitions signed by residents who are both for and against the proposed ‘Black Lives Matter’ project. The city says some people are okay with the proposed project, but want the street art on a different city street than the one proposed.

“I hope we can work together to make this project happen, and when we do, I’ll gladly bring a paint brush and join the effort,” said Kincannon.

The City of Knoxville Public Arts Committee meets Tuesday July 7.

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