ArtRage: The Norton Putter Gallery

505 Hawley Avenue Syracuse, NY

Graffiti, July 10, 2009

Sometime over the July 4th week-end, 2009,  someone scrawled a message on the window of the ArtRage Gallery in the Hawley-Green neighborhood of Syracuse. The window scrawl read: “There is no such thing as a proud Queer!”. We presume it was motivated by our display of Gay supportive posters, books and pins visible through the window of our retail shop, PosterWorks. Most visible was a poster proclaiming “Generation ‘Q’: Young – Proud – Queer”.

We did not attempt to remove the graffiti, but instead sent photos of it out to the press and public on Wednesday, July 8th. Almost immediately, word spread to groups in the city including the Syracuse Peace Council and LGBT organizations. They told us that they wanted to DO something about this. So we asked anyone who wanted to, to come to ArtRage on Friday,July 10  from 5-7pm and write a positive message of their own on our windows – or – have their photo taken holding a sign saying that they are Queer & Proud.

In response to the anti-gay graffiti at ArtRage, the LGBT Resource Center at Syracuse University sent out a call to all Straight Allies and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people to submit pictures of pride. Since the graffiti originally said that “There is no such thing as a proud queer”, they wanted to counteract that hateful message with one of love, pride and acceptance.

The response was fantastic! By Friday night there were over 200 photos submitted and displayed in the gallery windows for all to see. The graffiti was all but hidden by the pride expressed in those photos. Many who came to the spontaneous event (over 100 people) also had photos taken of themselves for display on Facebook. ArtRage was proud to be a part of such an energetic community response and hope to continue to act as a forum for political discussion for years to come!