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Chapel Hill calls for downtown installation celebrating LGBTQ+ community


Chapel Hill and Carrboro hosted the first annual Small Town Pride festival in 2021. Photo courtesy of Catherine Lazorko, Carrboro's communication and engagement director.

Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture is calling on local artists to apply to create artwork celebrating the LGBTQ+ community which will be displayed at the 140 W. Franklin St Plaza. 

The deadline to submit an application is April 10 at 5 p.m. 

“Our goal is to have the artwork installed by June, in time for Pride Month, and we envision having it on the plaza for about a month or so,” said Steve Wright, the public art coordinator at Community Arts & Culture. 

Possible artwork could include a sculpture, imagery or projection, but Wright said other creative options are also welcome.

The art installation will be on display throughout Pride Month in June as the Town of Chapel Hill commemorates Small Town Pride — Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Among other events, Small Town Pride includes the Chapel Hill Pride Promenade, a march to honor the LGBTQ+ community. 

This year, the march will be held on June 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will begin at the Peace and Justice Plaza and end at the 140 W. Franklin St. Plaza, where a social gathering with music and activities will be held.

“It was a very good event, very well-attended, and we’re very proud of it,” Stephanie Cobert, the director of marketing at the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said about last year's event. "We can't wait to see the crowds that gather this year." 

Melissa Bartoletta, the marketing and communications coordinator for the Town, said this public art initiative was inspired by the Chapel Hill Pride Promenade. 

She said having artwork at the plaza where the march ends will bring life to the space. 

In order to qualify for selection, applicants must be at least 18 years old and live within a 40-mile radius of Chapel Hill. 

A single application may be submitted on behalf of a team of artists who wish to work on the project together, Wright said.

Community Arts & Culture strongly encourages artists identifying as members of the LGBTQ+ community to apply. 

Applicants must submit four images of their previous work and an art resumé. Images submitted should be relevant to the project. For example, an application proposing a sculpture should contain images demonstrating the artist’s experience with sculptures, Wright said. 

The selection team consists of representatives from the Town's Cultural Arts Commission, Community Arts & Culture and LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group as well as the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.

Wright said applications will be reviewed using specific criteria, including artistic excellence and applicability of the proposed art to the project. 

Artwork must be able to withstand various weather conditions, requiring no maintenance for the duration of June. 

The team will select three finalists from the applicant pool. Each finalist will receive $100 to submit a proposal for the project and one proposal will be chosen for the project. Proposals may involve a sketch of the envisioned art or a description, according to Wright. 

The chosen artist will receive a $4,500 stipend intended to cover design, fabrication, installation and de-installation costs. 

Cobert said this project will showcase the talent of the local artist community while also promoting pride and emphasizing the message that Chapel Hill is a caring and inclusive community. 

Bartoletta said through artist calls, Community Arts & Culture ensures that public art reflects the values of inclusion, experience and understanding. 

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“We also want our art to be inclusive and reflective of our community,” she said. 

The application to be considered for the LGBTQ+ Pride public artwork project can be found online.

@DTHCityState | 

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