Art or hate? Billboards in KC cause controversy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Above the busy intersection of 19th and Baltimore, people are doing double-takes at a billboard.

"It's a little offensive," David Beverly said. "Because you're shooting an Indian!"

Moses Brings Plenty agrees.

"I saw hate," he said.

Moses works at the Kansas City Indian Center and tries to create unity.

The artist, Albert Bitterman, said racial division is why he made this piece, centered around a Kansas City icon, the Scout. (Read the full statement here: http://bit.ly/1h9HUBv )

His statement reads in part: "It represents a narrative created by and for white culture. That's what I'm taking aim at it."

A link to his website can be seen on the billboard, where an artist statement can be found.

He said his piece originally won an art competition sponsored by the Missouri Bank, but was later rejected for its controversy. So he bought the space in Crossroads instead.

"We felt like some images require a conversation and without knowledge of the artist's intent, this piece could be misinterpreted," George Satterly with Missouri Bank said.

The selection committee saw the piece in the selection process and knew the artist's vision. They de-selected the piece once they realized others wouldn't know what Bitterman was thinking.

"We are not a sculpture, we're not a painting on the wall, we are not the past," Moses said.

He believes people won't get Bitterman's intended message.

"There's a way to get a message across without desecrating or being disrespectful to a color of people," Moses said.

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