Another mural was unveiled this week in the City of West Hollywood. Showtime and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) partnered to amplify the Queer to Stay LGBTQ+ business initiative with a public art installation at 8954 Santa Monica Boulevard, on the south east corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Robertson Boulevard. The art is designed by Los Angeles-based artist Lauren YS (they/them) and is painted on a building owned by West Hollywood real estate developer FARING (at the former Hamburger Haven location, which closed in December 2019).
SHOWTIME and the Human Rights Campaign launched ‘Queer to Stay’ last year in an effort to support and preserve businesses that serve the LGBTQ+ community with a focus on LGBTQ+ people of color, women and the transgender community. In 2020, ‘Queer to Stay’ provided donations to 10 LGBTQ+ businesses from coast to coast. In 2021, the initiative will grow to double its support to at least 20 businesses. Additionally, a new crowdfunding feature will enable consumers to support the initiative through the end of the year. ‘Queer to Stay’ is currently accepting applications from qualifying businesses at QueertoStay.org until 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 31.
As businesses nationwide struggle to recover from economic repercussions of the Covid- 19 pandemic, LGBTQ+ serving spaces are disproportionately experiencing revenue loss and debt. Many of these LGBTQ+ spaces were under existential economic threat even before the pandemic began.
“I am thrilled to welcome the ‘Queer to Stay’ campaign to the City of West Hollywood — the international epicenter of LGBTQ+ commerce and culture,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John Erickson. “The small LGBTQ+ businesses that define our Creative City need help, and I am so grateful to SHOWTIME and the Human Rights Campaign for stepping up and pitching in.”
“This mural is an homage to all the gays, they’s and QTBIPOC activists, artists and folx out there,” said artist Lauren YS. “Cheer to being safe, seen and powerful in our self-hood.”
Lauren YS (they/them) is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work is influenced by multiple stages of focus, both geographically and in practice. With dynamic bouts in academics, literature and writing, teaching, illustration, and animation leading up to their arrival in the urban art sphere, the influences of these phases of their own career add up to a robust style of murals and fine art.
Lauren’s work is influenced by dreams, mythology, death, comics, love, sex, psychedelia, animation and their Asian-American heritage. Lauren has completed a residency and solo show at Nychos’ Rabbit Eye Movement studio in Vienna, Austria and has since shown work and live-painted at various international art festivals and institutions. For further information about Lauren YS, please visit www.laurenys.com.
West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath presented Lauren with a Proclamation. The Mayor was joined by West Hollywood City Councilmembers John M. Erickson,Councilmember and Sepi Shyne.