Miami-Dade is home to one of the nation’s most diverse, thriving, and successful LGBT communities. Throughout the years South Florida has been home to LGBT pioneers and heroes that have brought equality and rights to the forefront of the conversation, placing Miami-Dade consistently ahead of the curve. Now, the city is doing something to honor both those difference makers and those who lost their lives all too soon.
On Saturday, March 4th, Miami-Dade is set to unveil the county’s first ever LGBTQ sculpture, a beautiful five-foot-tall 18-piece multi-colored vertical piece of metal art located in North Miami's Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park, 1725 NE 135 Street. The park was chosen by city officials because of its peacefulness, which they hope encourages visitors to reflect on historic LGBT triumphs, while at the same time drawing inspiration from the strength of its natural surroundings.
After a search for the right installation, a winning selection from a Miami-native artist Alan Gutierrez was chosen as the symbol meant to celebrate the county's rich legacy of LGBT accomplishments. The sculpture’s 18 colors represent the industry standard makeup colors used for special effects on stage and in film.
In addition to Alan Gutierrez’s art, the city plans to erect a plaque dedicated to remembering and honoring local LGBT accomplishments through the years. North Miami City Councilman Scott Galvin told SFGN he’s been contemplating how to honor the LGBT community for some time, but current events sprung the project to the forefront of his mind last year.
“I'd had a general idea of doing something to recognize the gay community for more than a year,” Galvin said. “Most people don't realize how often Dade's gay rights struggle intersected with North Miami over the years. We had several residents who were integral in the struggle. As a city, we had domestic partner benefits and multiple openly gay elected officials long before other cities had. To me, it made sense.”
Gavin added the Pulse massacre spurred him into action.
“After last year's PULSE tragedy in Orlando, it was time to move the concept forward,” he said. “Rather than be a somber memorial to those victims, North Miami’s sculpture will be a celebration of LGBTQ lives and an acknowledgment of LGBTQ contributions in Miami-Dade County.”
Galvin told SFGN the LGBT sculpture project was one-hundred percent funded through his City Council District 1 budget using the Art in Public Places program as the process to vet all of the artwork proposals. According to documents published late last year when the project was announced, the city had then budgeted at least $30,000 for the statue and surrounding materials.
According to Galvin, the city is planning more than just the unveiling of the statue at North Miami Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park LGBT next month. The city plans to honor quite a few legendary members of the LGBT community.
“We're having the public unveiling on Saturday, March 4 at 11 a.m.” Galvin said. “At that time, we'll also be recognizing the contributions of several of Dade's gay pioneers, including Ruth Shack, Victoria Sigler, Kevin Burns, David Richardson, Martin Gill, and others. They'll all be in attendance!”