One month after giving the okay for a permanent public art project that would see rainbow crosswalks painted at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, the city has reversed course, saying the project needs to be removed a few days after Pride.

The news came in a Sept. 15 email to Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks founder Robert Sepulveda, Jr. from Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza: 

Mr Sepulveda
Thank you for your patience
The legislation to allow you to place the artwork crossing at tenth and piedmont will be in effect from about Oct 3 thru Oct 16 at which time it must be removed

We have multiple requests for artwork on city streets and need to work on a more permanent policy to manage in terms of public safety in the future at which time dpw will be happy to work with you on a permanent facility for this location

Sepulveda said the following in a statement on the matter:

"This is a frustrating turn of events for all of us, let us not be angry though. Please know we tried every conceivable option to satisfy the city's, "safety concerns". I personally don't understand how our crosswalks differ from many of the painted crosswalks we've seen throughout Atlanta. I also don't understand why they will allow the rainbow crosswalks to be installed, but then require them to be taken down, why not just leave them up?! Unfortunately the only option now is to have them painted temporarily for PRIDE, enjoy them and continue to work with the city on a permanent solution. I wish the city could have told us this issue over a year ago when the first proposal was sent to them and not a few weeks before the installation date, when over $40,000 has been raised, and especially when the city made it public that the crosswalks would be a permanent installation. What I'd like all the donors to know is that I will continue to fight for The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks to be a permanent part of the Midtown neighborhood. The rainbow colors of the crosswalks may have to be removed when PRIDE is over, but the clear message we are fighting for can't be erased that easily. These crosswalks no matter what obstacles are faced are more than just crosswalks, they are symbols of acceptance, unity and tolerance. I invite you to contact me directly with any questions you may have: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.."

The news comes just ahead of a Founding Member Recognition and Project Kickoff Party on Thursday evening.

We've reached out to Mayor Kasim Reed's office for comment on the matter and will update as a response comes in.


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