Winner of International Design Competition Announced for San Francisco’s Rainbow Honor Walk

A jury of artists and cultural leaders from San Francisco has selected the winning submission of the international competition to design plaques for the Rainbow Honor Walk (www.rainbowhonorwalk.org), a tribute to be built in San Francisco’s Castro district to honor historic LGBT figures.

“I am greatly honored to have my work selected, especially by a jury of fellow designers and artists,” said Carlos Casuso of Madrid, Spain. “I look forward to working with the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Department of Public Works to bring this tribute to reality.”

Last year, the first 20 names for The Rainbow Honor Walk were announced. This year, the contest solicited design proposals from around the world.

“Now I understand what being an expectant parent in the waiting room must be like,” said Rainbow Honor Walk Co-Founder and Chair David Perry. “The board was thrilled with the jury’s selection and unanimously approved the selection at our recent board meeting. Now, the real work begins: fundraising, fundraising, fundraising.”

Envisioning the Rainbow Honor Walk, a volunteer committee of community leaders received the unanimous support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to create the sidewalk monument. Eventually, the Walk will stretch from the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th Street at Diamond down to Castro. On Castro Street — the LGBT community’s “Main Street” – the walk will continue up to Market Street with additional wings along 18th Street. On Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, the Walk will continue to the LGBT Center at Octavia Boulevard.

“The Rainbow Honor Walk will not only be an inspiring educational tool for future generations, but an important, ongoing and permanent part of San Francisco’s cultural landscape,” said Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission in a statement earlier this year. “We are honored and pleased to support this project, and look forward to assisting in any way we can.”

Now that the design template has been chosen, it will be presented to the San Francisco Arts Commission for their approval, in accordance with San Francisco’s Charter, which requires all structures, placed on public property to be approved by the Arts Commission. When that has been completed and the funds have been raised, the plaques will be fabricated and installed in the sidewalks.

Casuso’s design is for a bronze plaque, divided in four quarters. The honoree’s photo, digitally treated so it can be easily engraved in the bronze, occupies the full plaque while one quarter is reserved for the honoree’s biographical information.

Following are the first 20 names selected for inclusion on the Rainbow Honor Walk:

• Jane Addams (1860-1935), Social worker, first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, 1931.
• James Baldwin (1924-87), American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, civil rights activist.
• George Choy (1960-93): Activist for Asian & Pacific Islander youth and people with AIDS.
• Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright, political activist.
• Allen Ginsberg (1926-97), American poet. San Francisco Beat poet/ Free speech activist.
• Keith Haring (1958-90), American artist and AIDS activist.
• Harry Hay (1912-2002), English born writer, gay rights activist. Founder of The Mattachine Society, 1950.
• Sylvester James (1947-88), American disco star, soul singer, San Francisco performer.
• Christine Jorgensen (1926-89), Pre-eminent American transgender pioneer and advocate.
• Frida Kahlo (1907-54), Mexican artist whose work has been celebrated as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition.
• Del Martin (1921-2008), American feminist, gay rights activist. Founder Daughters of Bilitis.
• Yukio Mishima nee Kimitake Hiraoka (1925-70), Japanese playwright, poet, actor, film director.
• Bayard Rustin (1912-87), American civil rights leader.
• Randy Shilts (1951-94), San Francisco journalist, biographer.
• Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), American novelist, essayist, playwright.
• Alan Turing (1912-54), British scientist who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code and father of the modern computer, cryptanalyst, logician, mathematician.
• Tom Waddell (1937-87), American athlete, physician, founder of the Gay Games.
• Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish playwright, poet, novelist, essayist.
• Tennessee Williams (1911-83), American dramatist, poet, novelist.
• Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), English novelist, essayist, publisher.

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