A light brown rat scampers around a piece of paper that says “Pride In Edmonds” in block letters. Its paws, lightly stained with paint, pattered around the paper, leaving random blotches and claw prints. Its owner picked it up before it teetered off the table’s edge.
The rat’s owner was among more than 30 people who showed up and crafted their artwork on paper, bricks and other materials that Ziggy Fraker had scavenged from the backroom of their store ArtSpot.
Ziggy and their partner Thatcher hosted “Pride Paint in the Park” last Sunday afternoon at the gazebo in Edmonds City Park, an event that was “a nice excuse to be out on a summery weekend and make some art,” Fraker said.
People chose to work in groups or by themselves. They used repurposed bricks as one of the surfaces for people to paint, which was also a “subtle nod” to honor the Stonewall Uprising that started on June 28, 1969 in New York City.
“The original pride was a riot, and while that struggle has changed a lot since then, it has never ended,” Fraker said. “People got hurt and people’s lives were in disarray. Anything that we can do to give visibility to their struggle and sacrifice that got the ball rolling to the point where we can be here to have a safe and fun time at a park without reprisal. [And] we had fun turning bricks into works of art!”
Thatcher sparked the idea of “Pride Paint at the Park” when both of them wanted to celebrate Pride Month and promote ArtSpot at the same time. Both think that the queer community in Edmonds hasn’t been acknowledged publicly enough, and the event was a way of saying, “We’re here and we’re hanging out.”
“I know that the queer elders in downtown are really down-low about Pride. That’s their own reasoning behind that,” Fraker said. “A lot of queer people who are younger are more comfortable in being loud and proud about it, given the events that have happened in our lives. There’s a lot more young people walking around, and there’s a lot more people who just feel visibly and comfortably being ‘other’ in town. As someone who is visibly strange and other, it’s nice to see that representation.”
Fraker and Thatcher would like to have another Pride Paint event next year on the last weekend in June.
“We’d love to do this again and have more support,” Thatcher said. “It feels like a party now, but even with all this legislation that’s going on right now, it is still an active fight. We have to fight for the right to be seen, the right to exist, the right to our health care, every single day. None of us are free until all of us are free.”
The City of Edmonds will be hosting a pride event on June 30 from 5-6 p.m. on the steps of the Edmonds Historical Museum on Fifth Avenue North.
ArtSpot is also sponsoring other events this summer, including a charcoal pencil demo on July 1, a pet portrait fundraiser on July 24, and urban sketching on the first Saturday of every month.
— By Nick Ng