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Keep Cap Hill Queered mural

Celebrating the spirit of a neighborhood through art and community.

Conjuring up a community’s colors

The “Keep Cap Hill Queered” mural stemmed from an idea I had in 2016. It started out as a little bit of wordplay based on the “Keep Austin Weird” and “Keep Portland Weird” slogans. Basically, it made me laugh that those two places used the same phrase to identify themselves as “weird,” and I thought about what might make where I live unique. I made some buttons and passed them out at Pride weekend that year, and people seemed to like them.

…and then what?

Fast forward a few months to the morning after the Presidential election, and I woke up pissed. I felt like the election of a bigoted misogynist was a signal of change that I didn’t want to reflect on my country, my town or my neighborhood. I didn’t know what I could do, but I knew that I didn’t want to do nothing.

So, the day after the election I contacted Kathleen Warren of Urban ArtWorks to see if she’d be willing to help with a mural idea I had.

Painting the town red… and orange… and…

I wanted to do something to plant a small flag in the ground in my neighborhood – a place that was also facing change. I wanted to put a message out there, and I wanted it to be big and bold.

We ran into some snags getting permission to paint on the building we wanted, and the idea fell to the back burner for most of the next year. The week before Pride weekend in 2017, we talked again and decided we needed to make this project happen. Capitol Hill has been changing for a while, and not always for the better. We wanted to say there needs to be space for the Hill to be what it always has been.

Kathleen worked her magic to secure a wall and supplies, and we got some volunteers together to help paint. People loved it. I sat across the street for hours that weekend watching people stop to take pictures with big smiles on their faces. Eventually, Dan Savage interviewed me about the project for The Stranger.