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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The City of Pittsburgh Art Commission will accept public comments on Oakland’s Stephen Foster statue before hearings on the issue are held in October.

The 117-year-old statue, which sits outside the Carnegie Library in Oakland, features Pittsburgh-born composer Stephen Foster — who wrote a number of well-known songs, including “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races” — alongside an African-American slave playing a banjo.

In the wake of national conversations about controversial statues and monuments, Mayor Bill Peduto asked the Art Commission to review the statue and determine if anything should be done about it.

Some believe that the depiction of the African-American slave is a derogatory image, while others defend the statue by pointing out Foster’s historical significance.

Starting on Friday, a comment section will be available on the Art Commission website so that the public can offer their opinions on the matter.

A special hearing about the statue will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. The Art Commission will also hear additional public testimony at its regularly scheduled hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m.

One depiction of Stephen Foster has already been removed. Artist Jeremy Raymer has previously painted a mural featuring Foster on the the side of building. Raymer painted over the mural on Sept. 1.

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