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Art show to celebrate West Hollywood's rainbow crosswalks

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Following the installation of rainbow colored crosswalks for LGBT Pride Month in June, which the City Council recently voted to make permanent, artist Martin Duvander will host his first one-man show, "Rainbow Crosswalks," in celebration of the new landmarks.

The show will open Friday, Oct. 19, at 7 pm at the James Gray Gallery in Santa Monica.

The proposal to paint the crosswalks rainbow at one intersection of the city's main thoroughfare, Santa Monica Boulevard, was first brought to the city by Duvander, who told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News in a June interview that he wrote to West Hollywood officials in April with the suggestion.

“I saw those white crosswalks as an empty canvas and saw an opportunity to paint them and make a statement,” Duvander said.

The proposal, which picked up steam after it was sponsored Mayor Jeff Prang and Councilmember John Duran, passed through the council on Monday, June 4, just in time for the annual LA Pride Celebration taking place the following weekend. The city covered the painting costs.

In August, the council decided to make the rainbow crosswalks a permanent fixture and re-painted the crosswalks with a more permanent coat.

“Making the rainbow crosswalks permanent sends a powerful message to the world that the City of West Hollywood stands for diversity and embraces and welcomes all LGBT people,” West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said. “In parts of the world and even in this country where being gay or lesbian has to be repressed for mere survival, our rainbow crosswalks signify that in West Hollywood, LGBT people can be proud to be themselves.”

Duvander, who is proud of the gay-friendly city for taking this step to recognize the LGBT community, will host the show which will include imagery of the equality movement as well as mixed media paintings of LGBT luminaries.

“These permanent rainbow crosswalks are living pieces of art that serve as beacons to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people all over the world and are bold vibrant symbols of hope and pride which were the spark for this show,” Duvander said.

Duvander's art was recently showcased at the Golden Globe Awards and the Grammy Awards, and since 2003 has been internationally exhibited at galleries and private foundations.

Opening night for the "Rainbow Crosswalks" exhibit is Friday, Oct. 19, at 7 pm and runs through Sunday, Oct. 21. The James Gray Gallery is located at Bergamot Station Art Center, 2525 Michigan Ave. in Santa Monica.