When the Napalese Lounge and Grille in Green Bay, Wisconsin decided to install a public art mural to foster pride and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people and host a modest celebration in its honor, they had hoped it would encourage cooperation and collaboration among businesses, the arts, city government and community groups to find additional ways to support the LGBTQ+ community as well. For grantee, Martha Mogilka, what happened exceeded all expectations.
Upon receiving the Pollination Project grant, the planning committee was inspired to dream bigger and open to greater possibilities in an effort to engage more people than they’d originally imagined. The grant opened the door to additional funding and what began as the unveiling of a mural followed by a modest celebration became a full “Weekend of Pride” with entertainment, programs, and activities.
With Gay Pride flags flying high on light posts along Main Street, artist Loschue Lo unveiled the gorgeous mural with the help of the Mayor of the City of Green Bay to over 600 delighted people. There were many activities to participate in from a “Starlight Pride Ride” sponsored by a local Bike Collective to a special meet and greet opportunity for trans youth and their parents, families, and allies, among many more which were extensively covered by local TV stations and newspapers including, the New York Times.
One of the most moving moments was when the front door of the Napalese Lounge and Grille was opened. As the second oldest gay bar in the state of Wisconsin, the door had been sealed for 20 years due to harassment of the gay community. It was a powerful moment that spoke to the positive changes brought about with this new, inspiring mural and the willingness of people to come together to bring about compassionate change.
The tremendous success of this event has led to the planning of another LGBTQ celebration and media event in the Summer of 2022 where there will be more opportunities for trans youth and their families to gather together and receive support and encouragement. In addition, they will be helping the University of Wisconsin Green Bay Archives Department to gather historic materials and record stories from the LGBTQ+ community as well as having conversations with the County Health department on how to improve health care services in the area for LGBTQ+ community and trans community.
“A big thanks to The Pollination Project and the Canary Fund for giving me (us) the support and encouragement to think bigger thoughts and dream of loftier possibilities. We went from what was going to be a simple LGBTQ+ mural and party to a full weekend of Pride Activities that engaged 26 different Green Bay community organizations. The project continues to foster additional ways that the broader Green Bay community is affirming and providing support for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Martha.
With belief, support and the ability to dream big there is no limit to how many lives may be supported and transformed in the most dynamic ways.
More info at https://www.napalese.com/