Cain Williamson, Atlanta Pride chair, said the piece, created by local gay artist Larry Jens Anderson, has been vandalized twice. The first time was discovered on June 15; the second time was discovered on Saturday.
The title of the piece is “Locked Out” and includes a series of six white doors. Five of the doors are labeled with mother, father, friend, child and sibling of a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person. A person can open each of these doors and walk through to a re-creation of the Bill of Rights in the center of the piece. The last door is labeled, “You are a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person” and is padlocked, signifying that LGBT people are “locked out” and do not have the same rights as heterosexual people.
“My partner and I were with some friends walking the BeltLine on Saturday and saw one of the doors was completely knocked down, another door was cut in half, another kicked in. It was obvious it was very intentional,” Williamson said.
None of the other art pieces around the LGBT art were vandalized, he added.
“Seeing that put thoughts in my head this was anti-queer vandalism,” Williamson said. “The piece is very much a queer message.”
The Atlanta Pride Committee commissioned “Locked Out” for $3,000 as a way to promote Atlanta Pride as a supporter of the arts as well as honor the relationship and role Atlanta Pride has played in LGBT activism over the past 40 years, Williamson said.
Other pieces have also been vandalized, according to BeltLine officials.
“This unfortunately was not the only piece vandalized,” said Ethan Davidson, communications director of Atlanta BeltLine Inc., in an email.
“There have been over half a dozen instances of vandalism on a few of the temporary art installations. In each case we have worked quickly to repair the pieces,” he added.
“Locked Out” is located on the BeltLine between the Masquerade and City Hall East.
The piece commissioned by Atlanta Pride is part of the Art on the BeltLine project that spans eight miles of the BeltLine corridor open to pedestrians and off-road bicyclists, according to the BeltLine’s website.
“‘Art on the BeltLine: Atlanta’s New Public Place’ is a temporary art project that will place visual and performance art installations, as well as historic site interpretation, at different points along the corridor to draw the public onto the BeltLine as Atlanta’s new public realm. The exhibit will run from May through October of 2010,” the website states.
(Photos courtesy of Atlanta Pride. Top images: Damage to art installment; Bottom photo: the piece before it was destroyed by vandals)