Gloria Casarez Mural Location Revealed

Back in April, the City of Philadelphia and Mural Arts Program announced a plan to honor former director of LGBT affairs and civil rights leader Gloria Casarez with a permanent mural. Now, more details about the mural were revealed, including its location – the front wall of the 12th Street Gym, which is located in the heart of the gayborhood on 12th St. between Walnut and Locust.

Future location of the Gloria Casarez mural.

Future location of the Gloria Casarez mural.

According to a press release from the Mural Arts Program, a dedication ceremony will take place on October 11 at 1 p.m., in conjunction with Outfest. Renowned visual artist Michelle Angela Ortiz will paint the mural, which will celebrate Casarez’s life and legacy.

“We at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program feel privileged when we have the opportunity to commemorate individuals who have impacted our city and allow their legacy to live on in an artistic way,” said Jane Golden, executive director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. “We are pleased to be able to honor Gloria Casarez and her work to gain equality for LGBTQ members of our community.”

Casarez was the City of Philadelphia’s first director of LGBT affairs, appointed in 2008. During her tenue as director, Philadelphia adapted the broadest LGBT rights protection in the nation, and ranked as the number one city nationwide for LGBT equality. Prior to that, she was the executive director of GALAEI from 1999-2008, as well as a founding member of the Philly Dyke March and a long-time activist for marginalized communities. She married her long-time partner Tricia Dressel in 2011 in New York City.

Casarez passed on October 19, 2014 at the age of 42 after a valiant battle with breast cancer.

“I am so grateful to Mayor Nutter, Jane Golden, Michelle Angela Ortiz, and our community partners for honoring Gloria’s legacy of civil rights leadership through this project,” said Dressel. “Gloria’s imprint on this city is lasting and it is our hope that her legacy will continue to inspire generations of young activists, organizers, and community members to speak out, act up, and lead the fight for social and economic justice on behalf of all Philadelphians.”

There will be a public “Paint Day,” where members of the community are invited to participate in the creation of the mural. Details will be announced in the coming weeks on muralarts.org. The mural is a collaboration between a number of local organizations, including the Mayor’s Office, William Way, GALAEI, 12th Street Gym, Philly Pride Presents, and the Mural Arts Program.

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