The intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue is already nicknamed by some as the Corner of Gay and Lesbian, Where Gay meets Gayer, or Gay Ground Zero. Now an art installation could make Midtown Atlanta’s LGBT epicenter official.
Other cities across the country and around the world have taken a page from the Beatles “Abbey Road” and rainbowed up an iconic crosswalk in the gayborhood. Now Gay Atlanta’s own Robert Sepulveda Jr. is one meeting away with the City of Atlanta from making it a reality here.
The project is near and dear to his heart not just for himself, but for all of Atlanta and its diverse rainbow of fruit flavors, he tells Project Q Atlanta.
“These are not just crosswalks but symbols of acceptance, unity and tolerance and remind us all how diverse the LGBT community is,” Sepulveda says.
He and the City are aiming not just for a Pride-season installation, but a permanent part of Midtown’s cityscape. And Sepulveda is the type of person who tends to accomplish whatever heights he sets his mind to reaching. Like putting his muscles into modeling. Or gorgeous interior design.
He gives us the scoop on the crosswalk process, and why the project is so important to him and for all the LGBTs in the gayborhood – and beyond.
What made you interested in taking on this project?
I travel a lot, and I’ve seen the crosswalks in many other cities both domestically and internationally. I didn’t understand why Atlanta didn’t have one with such a big, diverse LGBT population.
Briefly describe the process so far.
I actually first approached the City last year to do for Pride, but that was before the Supreme Court marriage decision. I do think that now the timing was really right.
I didn’t know exactly how to do it. I had a vision of having it there, but that was it. Turns out the first step was a proposal. I sent it out to every public e-mail that I could find, from the public arts department to transportation and the list goes on and on. You have to file the proper paperwork, etc.
So many departments and department heads had to approve it, and we have that now. The final step is the Urban Design Commission meeting on Aug. 5.
Have there been any “heroes” that helped bring the project to fruition?
Robin Shahar, the mayor’s advisor on LGBT issues. At the beginning, I was just getting bounced around. She really picked up the ball and ran with it. She really helped put things in place, gave me the direction and helped me whenever I needed it and has been great.
If approved on Aug. 5, what is the time frame for having the final installation place?
We are looking at the weekend before Pride. We’re looking at doing it at night on Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th, or on that Sunday and Monday nights a week before Pride.
What would you say the Rainbow Crosswalk could mean as a permanent Atlanta landmark?
There’s so much history there, all the parades and other events go through there, and not just LGBT events. Everyone’s going to see it, take pictures of it, everypne will be part of it. It means something to international visitors who come, it’s great message to send. It’s based in the LGBT community, but it’s even bigger than the LGBT community.