The Legacy Project is pleased to announce that artist and activist Steven Reigns, of the artist's collective known as "The Gay Rub" is coming to Chicago to take impressions/rubbings of the eighteen (18) bronze plaques that currently comprise the Legacy Walk installation on North Halsted Street in Chicago.
According to its website, THE GAY RUB "…is a project devoted to collecting rubbings from GLBTQ historical markers, signs, tombstones, cenotaphs, plaques, and monuments. By gathering GLBTQ rubbings from across the globe, these public historic commemorations can be viewed at once. GLBT history and landmarks are underrepresented and underappreciated. The Gay Rub's aim is to help draw more attention to the markers and the GLBT significance that prompted them." The Gay Rub has collected several dozen such commemorations from around the world including Harvey Milk, Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Jean Genet, Proust... and scores of celebrities like Liberace, James Dean, Rudolf Valentino and Errol Flynn.
Artist Steven Reigns adds "I've traveled the country rubbing markers, and have had friends and supporters mail rubbings from across the globe. Chicagoans are fortunate to have almost 20 plaques in a centralized area. Victor and I corresponded long before the Legacy Walk's plaques were up. I read about the project online and was thrilled to read others were thinking about our lack of public monuments dedicated to GLBT people. There's something about the act of rubbing a plaque or monument. The message, meaning, and significance are understood in a new way. Rubbing each letter, word, sentence, and image is almost a meditation. Rubbing a plaque like the ones on the Legacy Walk is a way of re-experiencing the significance of one of our heroes. Participating in this project is also a way of giving back to the community. It's my aim to have The Gay Rub exhibit travel to places across the globe. (Hopefully, Chicago will be one of them.) The Legacy Project sends a message even to those who walk by and don't read every plaque or passage. It demonstrates that our accomplishments are of important and are people are of note. I'm thankful for The Legacy Project in creating this and helping bring people together."
Legacy Project Creator and Executive Director, Victor Salvo, concurs. "When Steven first contacted me I was taken aback. I had never heard of "The Gay Rub" before and as soon as I did a little research I thought this is so cool! Back when we first chatted — about two years ago — the Legacy Walk was still in its long development arc. But I knew we would get it done and when we did Steven and I vowed to get together and arrange for him to take the rubbings. The Legacy Walk is the largest collection of bronze plaques of its kind in the world. This 'mass-rubbing' should be great thing to watch."
Reigns contacted Salvo in mid-May to inform him that he would be in town for IML and asked if the rubbings could be arranged. Salvo moved quickly to secure a staging room at the Center On Halsted and has arranged for a group of students from Roosevelt High School's GSA, and a mixture of LGBT young people and seniors from the COH's Youth and Senior programs to participate in cross-generational teams to take the rubbings. The group will convene at 3:30 in Rm. 200 at the COH for a quick training session then head out to take the rubbings before heading back to compare their results.
Photographers are welcome to accompany the teams and interview participants. Steven Reigns and Victor Salvo are also available for interviews (see below for contact information).
THE LEGACY PROJECT intends to inform, inspire, enlighten, and foster an appreciation for the crucial role Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people have played in the advancement of world history and culture. On October 11, 2012 the organization dedicated THE LEGACY WALK — the only outdoor LGBT historic museum walk in the world. In April 2013 the Legacy Project Education Initiative (LPEI) was launched to bring the organization's research and resources directly to LGBT youth.