PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When you walk or drive through Providence you may notice murals on the sides of buildings.
Now, a new mural is beckoning people to stop and look closer because it represents a community that often feels misrepresented.
“It’s really touching and very important to get that message out that we’re here and a valid, hardworking part of the community,” Alice Firefly said.
The mural depicts faces of real people in the greater Providence community, and champions of LGBTQ+ rights across the country.
It was an honor for Alice Firefly, who identifies as nonbinary, to be featured in the larger-than-life mural panted on the entire side of Open Door Health on Central Street in Providence.
“They’re Rhode Island’s first LGBTQ+ health clinic. They’ve just opened up over a year ago. They reached out to us. They wanted to do something to do a little more outreach to the LGBTQ scene,” Nicholas Platzer said.
Nicholas Platzer is the mural program manager at The Avenue Concept, a non-profit public arts organization responsible for many of the murals you see downtown.
He said in order for this artwork to truly make an impact it needed to be painted by a queer individual .
“This is the first time I’ve done something this big, like on a 40-foot wall,” Brian Kenny said.
Brian Kenny is a renowned artist from Brooklyn, who spent weeks designing and turning a brick wall into an urban masterpiece.
“I wanted it to be something that everyone can enjoy, and that queer and trans people in particular can feel seen and celebrated,” Kenny said.
The more you stare at his mural, the more symbols you notice. For example, butterflies representing transition.
And while pink, white, and blue are the colors of the trans flag, there’s a reason Kenny decided against painting the actual flag in the background.
“There’s a lot of gender fluidity going on and the drawings itself have a lot of flow and interconnected together, so I thought it might stronger to break up the lines of the flag and just have them flow like liquid like the rest of the drawings,” Kenny said. “A lot of people don’t even know somebody who identifies as nonbinary so the whole battle for existence and take our place in the communities we inhabit is a real step forward.”