Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Hemming Plaza Statue “Painted” by DVI

The Hemming Plaza statue of Charlie Bennett, Florida’s longest-serving member of Congress, was painted by a graffiti-removal contractor working with Downtown Vision. Folio Weekly photographer Walter Coker just happened to be in the plaza and captured it on film.

The iconic bronze sculpture of Bennett, who represented Jacksonville in the U.S. House of Representatives for 44 years and was Florida’s longest serving congressman, was dedicated in April 2004 and is located at the Southeast corner of Hemming Plaza in downtown Jacksonville. Designed by sculptor William Duffy, the statue cost $137,000 and sits on a base of marble featuring the words, friend, scholar, statesman, preservationist, citizen and war hero.

The statue was targeted by an unwitting member of the Downtown Clean Team, which contracts with DVI through Catholic Charities to remove graffiti and maintain downtown areas. The worker, who’d been removing graffiti from an adjacent JFK plaque, subsequently turned his attention to the Bennett statue. Apparently mistaking its green patina for mold, he grabbed a can of brown spray enamel and began coating the statue with paint.


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