General Demotion/General Devotion is a design ideas competition which asks participants to reconsider Monument Avenue. Designers are asked to contemplate the road’s role as an historic urban boulevard, its viability as a 5.4-mile interurban connector, its presence in Richmond as the city evolves into a more diverse and progressive city, its significance in the history of the United States, and its place in the current debate about public Confederate statues. The competition is being organized by Storefront for Community Design and mObstudiO at VCUarts.
“The name plays on the notion that there are many people devoted to the monuments and many people who would just as soon demote them,” Camden Whitehead [VCUarts Interior Design professor] said.
Through creative design, he hopes the contest encourages innovative proposals and conversations that move past these universally accepted, yet highly partisan, arguments and towards real, implementable solutions.
“People have talked about the monuments until they’re blue in the face, I think it’s time that we say ‘well, what if this happened or what if this happened?,” Whitehead said. “I also think these ideas have the tendency to diffuse the polarization that happens—when there’s 30 or 40 or 50 proposals, people start talking about the merits of the proposals and not just their position.”
Watch the full interview on CBS6.