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Mayor Adams Unveils new Installations in City Hall Rotunda, Gracie Mansion to Celebrate Pride Month

June 26, 2024

Designed by LGBTQIA+ Artists, Installations Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Community

Announcement Builds on Adams Administration’s Investments in LGBTQIA+ Community

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today unveiled imagery installations celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community in the City Hall Rotunda and Gracie Mansion. In the City Hall Rotunda, six pieces of art from LGBTQIA+ young artists are now on display, thanks to donations from supporters of the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), the nation’s oldest LGBTQIA+ youth organization serving queer and trans youth, primarily of color between the ages of 13 and 24. The Gracie Mansion installation was designed by Devin Sparkles and Arturo Forero with their pieces focusing on self-reflection, love, inner-beauty, joy, and their personal journey as LGBTQIA+ individuals.

“When we entered into office, we wanted to transform both City Hall and Gracie Mansion into spaces that welcomed all New Yorkers with open arms, including our LGBTQIA+ community,” said Mayor Adams. “New Yorkers who enter the ‘People’s House’ at Gracie Mansion or walk the halls of City Hall will now see our city rich’s diversity reflected in art made by and about the LGBTQIA+ experience. Our administration is proud to show our pride this month, and every month, by celebrating the artists who told their personal journey through the universal language of art.”   

“As we celebrate Pride Month in New York City, we are proud to illuminate these historic locations with vibrant art installations celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack. “In doing so, we not only honor their resilience and contributions, but also reaffirm our commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. These works of art will serve as beacons of pride, guiding us towards a future where every individual is embraced, celebrated, and empowered."

"There's nowhere better to celebrate Pride Month than New York, where our LGBTQIA+ communities have for generations shaped our city in ways big and small, and have had an outsize influence on our creative and cultural activity," said DCLA Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. "I'm thrilled for this partnership between the Mayor's Office and Hetrick -Martin Institute, which is giving these extraordinary young artists a platform and reminding us all of the power of art to inpsire, to foster empathy, to explore who we are, and to create a stronger city where everyone is recognized, supported, and embraced."

“Life is full of color and impressions blended through each own’s unique energy, heart, and passions,” said Gracie Mansion Conservancy Executive Director Rhonda Binda. “The Gracie Mansion Conservancy is honored to present the stunning art and colors that represent one of the most creative and colorful communities in the greatest city in the world. We are so grateful to Mayor Adams for opening up the ‘People’s House’ to allow expression and visibility of queer artists. We just witnessed 31 days of magic with Asian American Pacific Islander Month at Gracie Mansion, and now are able to see and witness, in these 30 days of Pride Month, the beautiful visual art of Devin Sparkles and Arturo Lizcano. We all take pride in celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, which in it of itself, is one of the most important communities in the art world.”

“This Pride installation at Gracie Mansion has an been an exhilarating endeavor, as we sought to capture the true spirit of Pride Month,” said Gracie Mansion Conservancy Director of Public Engagement Chioma Ohakam. “Both Devin and Arturo’s artworks magnify the essence of love, confidence, inner beauty, unity, and the importance of self-awareness. Pride is a celebration of unrestrained joy and liberation of oneself. Gracie Mansion Conservancy is proud to embrace the uniqueness of our great city and welcome these extraordinary creatives from the LGBTQIA+ community to share their personal experiences of life’s journey through colorful hues and bright imagery. As visual storytellers, each artwork evokes feelings of thought, wonderment, reflection, and a profound illumination of self-identity and, more importantly, unapologetically being true to you! I am delighted to say that during the curation of this Pride Month installation, working with Devin and Arturo has been positively surreal, as they both transcend beauty, love, and light.”  

The City Hall Rotunda installation is connected to HMI’s Comic Book Group, a drop-in space where youth, ages 13 to 24, can explore the culture of comics. Youth were prompted to create illustrations in form of a comic book that depict what LGBTQIA+ expression and Pride Month means to them. 

The artists applied personal stories and adapted them into brief fictional narratives. Run by teaching artist illustrator Gianna Meola, these pictorial representations highlight gender expansive experience, mental health struggles, interpersonal support, and personal traumas and triumphs.

HMI’s mission is to ensure young people have free, long-term access to the highest standard of care, as well as a range of comprehensive services and resources designed to help them thrive and feel empowered in their own identities. HMI’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models. The youth organization is dedicated to building its approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels, throughout its operations and functions.

Sparkles is an artist and interior designer who draws inspiration from a wide array of sources, including pop culture, street art, and LGBTQIA+ activism. Forero is a Colombian artist based in New York City, who does illustration and murals with nature as a main inspiration.

The Adams administration has made continued investments and policy reforms to support the LGBTQIA+ community. Together with the NYC Unity Project and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, Mayor Adams announced an investment of nearly $6.7 million to provide new and expanded services for the LGBTQIA+ community in 2022. These new services provide wide-ranging support that include first-of-its-kind funding for capacity building of transgender and gender non-conforming/non-binary-led nonprofits, legal services, and support for homeless youth. 

In another effort to strongly support the LGBTQIA+ community, Mayor Adams, last year, signed Executive Order 32 to protect access to gender-affirming health care in New York City. The executive order prevents the use of city resources to detain any individual who is providing or receiving gender-affirming health care services in New York City. Additionally, the executive order denies the use of resources by the City of New York to cooperate with any prosecution or investigation by another state of an individual for providing or receiving gender-affirming care.

Additionally, Mayor Adams successfully advocated for a new St. Patrick’s Day parade to allow an LGBTQIA+ delegation to participate, ending a multi-year dispute in the borough.

Finally, with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Community Affairs Bureau, the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the Adams administration, last year, announced a new process for New Yorkers to contact the NYPD to re-examine cases involving LGBTQIA+ victims, including cold cases.

"The Hetrick-Martin Institute is thrilled that the New York City Mayor’s Office and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs has provided a platform for young members of the LGBTQIA+ community to share their stories through comic book art in the magnificent building of City Hall,” said Amy Harclerode, chief executive officer, HMI. “Giving young people the ability to express themselves through illustration is a wonderful way for their voices to be heard. We are delighted to have supporters, such as Jonathan Rheingold of iD8 Studios and Zahn Global Law, for helping curate the installation." 

“By offering a wide range of resources and programs, such as Comic Book Group, HMI helps LGBTQIA+ youth thrive and feel empowered in their own identities,” said Leesa Tabrizi, counselor and art therapist, HMI. “Many of these individuals are young people who often find themselves navigating systems that aren't designed with them in mind, leading to potential harm.” 


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