Pride and BLM art taken off the street

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 9:27 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In early June, Benson First Friday Omaha created 2 sculptures celebrating Pride and Black Lives Matter. One was placed at 60th and Maple and the other was a block away. Friday afternoon, the group’s deputy director was surprised to see the sculptures in the back of a white truck she says belongs to the city of Omaha.

“If I hadn’t been going to lunch I wouldn’t even notice that they were gone until Monday, and there was no note or contact so we would have no idea where they were,” said Caitlin Little.

Little says she headed to the city works department where someone suggested the sculptures could be at the street maintenance division. That’s where signs that are against city code are taken. Sure enough, the colorful pieces were there. However, the group says the public art pieces aren’t signs, but sculptures.

Little says she was told the sculptures were against city code.

“I guess there’s a certain point where private property ends and public property begins and they were too close to the street I guess. So they were removed,” she said.

In the city’s code of ordinances, it says it’s illegal for anyone other than the city to use the city-owned property without first having an agreement with the city.

Little says she wasn’t aware the sculptures were against code until now, and that the group would have gladly moved them if they were asked to.

“I think we try really hard to follow the rules and be respectful of local gov and leaders and it’s disheartening when folks don’t even give you any sort of notice. Like I said they were pulled down pretty quickly.”

And she thinks there could be a better process to take care of these things.

We’ve worked so hard to create beautiful pieces to uplift our community and uplift the voices that aren’t heard and for those to be taken down without warning or communication really feels like we’re trying to do our part to be good citizens and be respectful of the law, but we’re not getting that same respect back,” said Little.

The group plans to go pick up the sculptures once they find a truck big enough to carry them back to Benson.

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