We told you it was about to happen. The Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs made it so on Wednesday, and you can thank one gay Atlanta man for making an LGBT rainbow crosswalk a reality for Atlanta.
A week after letting the cat out of the bag, the painting of Abbey Road-style stripes in rainbow colors across the crosswalks at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue will be a permanent part of the city’s art collection. It will be a joint project overseen by the city’s Cultural Arts Department and Department of Public Works, as well as the newly formed Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks organization..
Atlanta City Council will formalize the project with its approval of a short agreement about maintaining it. But the upshot is that after a year of wrangling, meetings and consensus-building, Robert Sepulveda’s dream and mission is a reality.
“The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks will be a Public Art Project that symbolizes the diversity of the LGBT community and its allies. It will be a visual message of acceptance, unity and tolerance that remind us all of how diverse the community is,” Sepulveda said in a prepared statement.
Sepulveda (photo) tells Project Q Atlanta that it was well worth the effort, and he thanks his lesbian ally at City Hall for her support.
“I’m overjoyed and relieved that finally after so much effort the project has been accepted and humbled by the process,” Sepulveda says. “It’s also confirmation that I am doing the right thing for the LGBT community and its allies. I'm also so grateful to Robin Shahar and her guidance during this process. This is another clear message that the City of Atlanta stands behind the LGBT community.”
Sepulveda will form a non-profit to maintain the crosswalks and to advance the installation as symbols of diversity in the city. The cost of the $20,000 installation – organizers hope to complete it ahead of Pride in October – will be paid with private funds and raised through online donations. While the organization seeks its non-profit status, it will partner with Georgia Equality to make the donations tax deductible now.
“This is not only a win for the LGBT community, but a win for all citizens of Atlanta,” Sepulveda says in the announcement. “These crosswalks symbolize the diversity of our community, while spreading a clear visual message of acceptance, unity and tolerance, no matter ones race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.”
Here is the full announcement from Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks.
The Approval of The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks
Atlanta, Georgia – On Aug. 12, The City of Atlanta & The Office of Cultural Affairs accepted the The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks into the City of Atlanta's permanent collection of art. Robert Sepulveda Jr. Founder of The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks and Eddie Granderson Program Manager for the City of Atlanta Cultural Arts Department attended the required Urban Design Commission comment and review hearing on Wednesday. The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks will be a Public Art Project that symbolizes the diversity of the LGBT community and its allies. It will be a visual message of acceptance, unity and tolerance that remind us all of how diverse the community is. Sepulveda also plans to form a non-profit organization around The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks with the mission being; Advancing the awareness of diversity and equality through public art and community outreach. The logistics of installing the Artwork must be coordinated between The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks Organization and the Department of Public Works.
The City of Atlanta will formally accept the art once the donation (The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks), is approved by Atlanta City Council and a short agreement is entered regarding the installation and maintenance of said crosswalks. The legislation and agreement are being drafted now by City of Atlanta's Chief Counsel and Mayor Kasim Reed's Advisor on LGBT Issues – Robin Shahar, which is being finalized. Final passage is anticipated at the council meeting of September 8th, 2015. Installation and completion phase of The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks is planned for the weekend before the annual PRIDE festival in October of 2015. Two nights of work is anticipated, with a formal ribbon cutting thereafter.
Sepulveda initially proposed his plans about The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks to the City of Atlanta in 2014. After more than a year of due diligence, perseverance and dedication Sepulveda has successfully obtained the necessary approvals to begin the execution phase of this project.
“This is not only a win for the LGBT community, but a win for all citizens of Atlanta, these crosswalks symbolize the diversity of our community, while spreading a clear visual message of acceptance, unity and tolerance, no matter ones race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.” – Robert Sepulveda Jr.
While The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks seeks non-profit status (501 (c)(3) non-profit organization status), The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks will be partnering with Georgia Equality, allowing donations to be considered charitable donations/tax deductible. The fundraising campaign goal is $20,000.00. A GoFundMe page has been created: https://www.gofundme.com/ATLrc