#YardsofPride is a Pride-inspired art installation in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. The installation is designed to spark joy and celebrate individuals in D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community whose efforts and spirit help weave the community together. One of the lead collaborators, David Horwitz, talked with us about the project’s mission to recognize, uplift and energize the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ advocates.
District Fray: What moved you and your neighbors to participate in the “Paint the Town Colorful with Pride” Campaign? And what inspired the “Yards of Pride” Installation design?
David Horwitz: We actually conceived of #YardsofPride in early May before we knew about the “Paint the Town Colorful with Pride” campaign. Due to the pandemic and the difficulties faced by so many people, we wanted to do something special to bring extra joy to our corner of the District during Pride month. While very different, the design was inspired by Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1, which appeared in the Renwick Gallery’s “WONDER” exhibit.
How did you go about enlisting neighbors’ participation? What’s the response been like in Columbia Heights?
At the beginning of May, I started mentioning the installation idea to my roommates, neighbors and friends. My next door neighbor, Rachel, was the biggest fan of the idea and ultimately became my “sous-chef” and “co-conspirator.” [We] would spend nights after work enjoying a glass of wine on our front porches, brainstorming the design of the project and engineering the installation process. The [rest of the] team formed really organically. A majority of [the] people who pass by take pictures of the installation and it’s great to see all the smiling faces. The best part is that we’ve met so many of our neighbors we didn’t previously know.
Will this be an annual project?
Good question! We’re already thinking about new and different ideas for next year.
Have others around the city replicated your installation?
I haven’t seen any other yarn art installations around town but there are a lot of other great yard decorations for Pride. One thing I would like to see more of next year is the inclusion of the Black, brown, light pink, light blue and white stripes to represent LGBTQ+ people of color and the trans community. Those five colors haven’t started commonly appearing in Pride decorations, so it’s really on everyone to make sure our decorations include them so we can be as inclusive as possible.
Reflecting on the 11+ hours of installation, what’s the most memorable thing you took away from the experience?
There’s nothing better than a great team! Just imagine the tediousness of untangling 30 strands of yarn for hours on end. I was lucky to have an enthusiastic co-pilot like Rachel and our patient and helpful teammates. Big thanks to Josh, Mark, Matt, Wendy, Rozi and Ron!
Are you hoping to inspire others to show up in their own unique way during LGBTQ+ Pride month (and beyond)?
As my friends know very well, I’ve always been a big fan of celebrating life’s special moments with intention. So, while of course I hope the installation inspires more unique ways of honoring Pride month, I also hope it inspires people to try new fun, funky, artistic and meaningful projects more generally. Anything that brings them and others around them joy. I say that because I felt like our community got a little bit stronger and even more joyful this month through this project, and I’m excited to explore new ways to keep up our progress.
What words come to mind when you think of D.C.’s LGBTQ+ Pride month?
There aren’t words that come to mind but images. I’m imagining the Marriott parade float and Fireball-branded rainbow sunglasses. I know corporate support of Pride month is one avenue for creating visibility of LGBTQ+ rights, but I hope we can find more organic ways of raising up the voices of our local LGBTQ+ community members and organizations.
Anything else you want to share?
Along with the awareness of our project, we’re encouraging readers and viewers to donate to local organizations that support LGBTQ+ community members in need. If you’re looking and able to make a donation, consider giving to SMYAL, a DC-based organization empowering local LGBTQ+ youth with access to crucial resources. In my opinion, that would be the best way to honor Pride month this year.
Find the installation and others at capitalpride.org/
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