Whether you’re driving through uptown or the surrounding area, Charlotte has LGBTQ-themed murals for you to selfie with. Here’s what’s going up and has been up in the Queen City.
A City on Its Side
It’s not every day you see your girlfriend’s face plastered on a mural. Artist and musician Lara Americo is a part of Sharon Dowell’s latest mural entitled “A City on Its Side.” In her artist’s statement, Dowell describes the mural as a response to HB2. Here’s the imagery: Two Charlotte cityscapes turned on their sides, one being Charlotte in the early 1900’s and the other is its current skyline. The red dripping cubes symbolize how people box each other in based on their beliefs or culture.
Dowell also talked about the face in her mural.
“I asked Lara Americo to be my model, as I admire her courage as an activist and her leadership in making a difference in the lives of other people,” she said. “In the mural, her mouth is absent, because many in the LGBT community and also people of color are still kept from speaking their truth and being themselves and still fight for equal rights. The vibrant color represents redeeming hope, as we have come so far but still have so much more to fight for.”
Part of the Heightened Perspectives exhibition. The public can visit Sharon Dowell’s mural during UNC Charlotte Center City’s regular business hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. 320 E. 9th St., Charlotte.
Our Lives, Our Culture, Our Time.
When artist Gil Croy and I first talked about the creation of his mural on the outside wall of The White Rabbit in 2012, he said he was hoping to bring up issues in the LGBTQ community, which at the time was focused on same-sex marriage. It was also a tribute to a fellow Charlotte artist and friend, Carllena Person, who died in a car accident that year. The mural debuted after the Democratic National Convention came to town and is still a red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple statement on love and equality.
“The mural is one way we can stand on the street again,” he told me back in 2012.
On the outside wall of The White Rabbit, 920 Central Ave., Charlotte.
(Part of The Drag Queens of the Queen City Mural Project.)
You’ll see drag legend Brandy Alexander wearing Pat McCrory earrings with nods to House Bill 2 in this aqua and purple tribute. Shane Windmeyer, aka Buff Faye the drag queen and executive director of Campus Pride, told The Charlotte Observer in May about the importance of remembering this local drag legend, who passed away earlier this year. “Now more than ever in North Carolina, we need to be visible,” he said. “This mural project reminds people that we are a vibrant, diverse community.”
On an outside wall by the parking lot across from The Pizza Peel and Tap Room, 1600 Central Ave., Charlotte.
Photos: T. Ortega Gaines/Charlotte Observer; Charlotte Observer file photo