NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - An art display made as a tribute to John Kohn, the Norfolk police recruit who died after a training accident in December, had to be taken down.
The property owner told the artist the creation was too political.
"Normally I would never have wanted to do a public piece of art like this, but this, but this time, I actually felt like I had something to say and I wanted to say it. I wanted to be heard," said artist David Morris.
Morris usually speaks through his art. He is the owner of Davmo, a contemporary artist who says Art Everywhere asked him to display his tribute to Kohn in the window of 345 Granby Street.
A few days ago, he displayed it, only to have it removed a couple of days later.
"The work got one of the highest scores from the selection committee, so we are really big fans of Davmo, and we really love his work and we really want this in the show," said Jesse Scaccia with Art Everywhere.
When MOrris got the word to take it down, he was shocked.
"I've been a working artist in the community since 1994...and this is a first, this is a first," said Scaccia.
"Unfortunately, it has become a political issue, it's a very real political issue and we're in the real estate business, not the political business," said Doug Aronson who represents the property owners of 345 Granby Street LLC.
Aronson said this is not against Kohn, the Norfolk Police Department, or Morris, but rather the timing of this as a hot issue, and would rather not be involved.
Morris said removing his artwork from that space is censorship.
Scaccia said while he doesn't think it's censorship, he does want to reach a happy medium and has found another space for the exhibit.
"We think it's very important that the piece is in the show, and we're gonna make sure it's in the show," said Scaccia.
Aronson said, "We are big supporters of Art Everywhere. We have been the last time they did something, we had a lot of windows displayed. There is a window currently displaying art work. We are just looking for things that are not at all controversial and unfortunately, this one was."
Scaccia said although this exhibit has caused so much controversy, it's still being moved to one of the most prominent spaces on Granby Street at the old Harry's Barbecue building.
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