Columbus’ LGBTQ+ community celebrated with unique — and permanent — art installation

“Pride Circles” by local artist Lisa McLymont is the 1st ever permanent public art installation in a Columbus public right-of-way.

A first-of-its-kind public art installation now has a home in Columbus’ Short North Arts District.

“Pride Circles” by local artist Lisa McLymont is the first ever permanent public art installation to be installed in the public right-of-way in the City of Columbus on a sidewalk where the public is invited to traverse the art as they pass.

“Pride Circles”

Commissioned by the Short North Alliance in partnership with Stonewall Columbus, “Pride Circles” is a representation of a few of the many pride and identity flags in the LGBTQ+ community. The installation takes shape in the form of a pond of unified ripples, where passersby can imagine themselves as pebbles that break the surface symbolizing individual efforts that combine to make waves in the waters of change–analogous to the the queer rights movement. These ripples coalesce around the entrance of Stonewall, creating a symbolic and welcoming embrace around the many voices and identities in the community who enter. Made entirely of thermoplastic, which is the same material that is used in most roadway markings, the installation is designed to allow the public to inclusively experience LGBTQ+ identities.

Amidst Stonewall Columbus’ 40th Anniversary year, in service and advocacy to the Columbus community, “Pride Circles” not only reimagines the gateway into the nonprofit’s Short North Arts District headquarters, it works to elevate an understanding of the ways in which small acts can result in big change and the unique interconnectedness of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Pride Circles”

“It was such an honor to be privy to the thoughtful and intentional considerations that Lisa McLymont gave to accepting this commission and the creation of this piece,” said Densil Porteous, Executive Director of Stonewall Columbus, who joined the organization in January 2021. “Pride Circles is a wonderful physical representation of our community’s interconnected work and the accountability that we must all agree to so as to ensure we create positive ripples of change.”

For McLymont, the mural represented both a nod to past conflict as well as hope for the future. From her artist statement on Instagram:

“When invited to create a visual work for Stonewall Columbus in the Short North, I immediately remembered the rift that opened in our community in 2017, during that year’s Pride event. I also recalled that the original Stonewall in New York was the well known start of a riot, started by Black, & Latino Trans people that sparked a national and ongoing conversation about the rights of Trans people, Gays, and Lesbians in America.

That riot was started by people who, pushed to the margins, had seen lifetimes of oppression, and their patience had finally run out. Though Stonewall has gone through some major changes since 2017, the building stood silent during the Black Lives Matter/George Floyd protests in 2020. Being a community center, I hoped for more. Despite my wariness, I am hopeful because of the many friends and acquaintances I know who I see have stepped up to commit to making change within. I am honored to have a chance to share my creativity in their push to be the community resource we desire them to be.”

Artist Lisa McLymont during the installation of “Pride Circles”

“This public art installation helps us celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall Columbus and the LGBTQIA+ community. It is an impactful visual reminder that, while we have a long way to go, Columbus is dedicated to being a vibrant, equitable and inclusive city,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.

The project was made possible with support from The Jack and Zoe Johnstone fund of the Short North Foundation, the Short North Alliance Art Fund, Stonewall Columbus, One Hospitality Group, and Griffin Pavement Striping.

A celebration with the artist is planned for Pride Month in June 2022 with details to follow.

Ignite Action:

  • Petition your local community for an LGBTQ+ mural, rainbow crosswalk, or street-art. Visibility makes a big difference. 

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