Richmond Triangle Players worked with Councilwoman Kim Gray and Mayor Stoney to create the rainbow outside their door in record time.
Jo Rozycki | July 17, 2018
Scott’s Addition has just become more colorful. The neighborhood is putting its pride on display — permanently. On Sunday, July 15, the intersection at Altamont Avenue and W. Marshall Street was painted in a fanned out rainbow. With this gesture, Richmond joins several other cities that include either semi-permanent or permanent rainbow crosswalks and intersections.
On one of the corners of this intersection stands Richmond Triangle Players, who spearheaded the initiative. RTP Executive Director Philip Crosby spoke about the process of getting the intersection painted, and how important the fixture is for the city.
“We’re doing our 25th birthday party next Saturday [and] we thought it might be kind of cool to do the crosswalks in a rainbow color like they’ve done in other cities,” he told GayRVA. He went through his local city councilwoman, Kim Gray, and her assistant, Craig Bieber, to get this approved by the city. Because Crosby wanted this completed by the 25th anniversary of the theatre, “we were on a very tight timeline.” After receiving incredibly positive support and approval from the Scott’s Addition Business Association, Crosby was able to move forward with city officials.
Initially, Crosby had planned on only having a temporary mural. “Our initial thought was to do it for that night only: do some temporary paint, some chalk maybe, something that would go away.” But after receiving lots of love from their neighbors and from the business association, Kim Gray told Crosby that it should be a permanent painting. “She took it to the city literally that afternoon,” he said. “I got a call later on in the day and she said, ‘I got so excited, I walked into the mayor’s office.’” Since all of this was happening in June – Pride month – Mayor Levar Stoney was supportive of the initiative to install the rainbow colors into the city, in addition to other rainbow features around town.
With such a quick turnaround, Crosby got to work with the Department of Public Works on traffic organization. “All of the sudden they said, ‘No, we’d really like you to do this on a Saturday-Sunday,’ which was the coming weekend,” said Crosby. “I had planned for it, but I didn’t have the official permit in my hands until 5 o’clock last Friday. That’s how fast the timeline was.” The very next day, the road was blocked off, the asphalt was sealed, and the design was drawn. For the majority of Sunday, painting occurred, finishing up around 6 PM on July 15.
The graphic designer for RTP, John MacLellan designed the intersection. “If you look at it closely, the rainbow bars fan out and they come to a point at our [Richmond Triangle Players’] front door,” said Crosby. Muralist and painter Andre Shank and wife Katie painted all day Sunday, creating the new feature on the pavement of Scott’s Addition.
Not only is the paint in this intersection a great pathway to Richmond Triangle Players, it also sets an example for pride in Richmond. “It is the first LGBTQ or Pride-oriented permanent installation in the city,” Crosby said. And he perfectly captured the significance behind the permanence, saying, “Pride doesn’t have to be temporary anymore in Richmond.”
You can follow the rainbow at the intersection of Altamont Avenue and W. Marshall Street in Scott’s Addition. A celebration of Richmond Triangle Players’ 25th birthday will be held on Saturday, July 21, with a guest performance by Key West drag star Randy Roberts. Tickets for the event can be purchased here; more information can be found here.