Artist Joey Salamon and a team of painters will soon begin installing a new mural on the surface of Sheldon Boulevard between Fulton and Library Streets in Downtown Grand Rapids.

Titled "Rainbow Road," the mural helps to locally commemorate Pride Month (June) and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969, widely considered a pivotal moment in the modern fight for LGBT rights rights in America.

The project is funded by the Downtown Development Authority, which is managed by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI).

Weather permitting, painting will begin June 23, 2019 and finish by June 30.

“I was a GVSU student living in Grand Rapids when I first came out,” Salamon said. “This project is very special to me because this city and the people I was around helped me feel comfortable with myself. That, in turn, helped me grow into the person I am today: a full-fledged, confident out dude who understands himself."

"Grand Rapids will always be an important place for me for that reason, and I am excited to create something that represents that pride.”

Public murals and art are a proven strategy to enliven too often drab public spaces and infrastructure. Public art is also a common tactic to celebrate the diverse characteristics of a community’s history, values and culture.

By testing a mural painted on the surface of Sheldon Boulevard - the most extensive street mural installed to date in the City of Grand Rapids - DGRI also aims to evaluate how street murals impact the speed of traffic, the presence of people and safety for people who drive, walk and ride bike.

Salamon’s mural will use 40 gallons of red, yellow, blue, white and black paint to cover approximately 7,000 square feet of streetspace.

Partners in the project include the City of Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids Pride Center, The Apartment Lounge, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art and Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

Special thanks to the Grand Rapids Arts Advisory Committee and the GR Forward Goal 5 Alliance for their help advancing the project.

Proposed Design for the Sheldon Boulevard Pride Mural by Joey Salamon
Proposed Design for the Sheldon Boulevard Pride Mural by Joey Salamon