Pride Circles by Columbus, Ohio 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 where the public is invited to traverse the art as they pass.
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 represented in the form of a pond of unified ripples. 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 of 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.
From the artist: “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.
The design I created shows a few of the many pride and identity flags in our community, arranged in what I feel is a more impactful visual form than the rectangle shapes we usually see these flags in. These many bands of color that define US display in a unified form of pond ripples, with each of us working as the pebbles that break the surface through small efforts that combine to make waves in the waters of change. These ripples coalesce around the entrance of Stonewall, creating a warm and welcoming embrace around the many voices in our community who enter.
Step into the center of one of these pride circles and you may literally see the impact your efforts could make!”
Amidst Stonewall Columbus’ 40th Anniversary year, in service and advocacy to the Columbus community, Pride Circles reimagines the gateway into Central Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community center, home to 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.
Representative pride flags shown (left to right)
Genderqueer, Polysexual, Progress, Pansexual, Non-Binary, Intersex, Transgender.
Be sure to share your Pride Circle images with the hashtag #PrideCircles on social media.
This 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.
Special thanks to the City of Columbus for their collaboration in making an innovative new public art application become a reality in Columbus.