Bendigo's Town Hall is now the backdrop to a new colourful creation with the city showing its support for the LGBTQIA+ community.
A new public artwork featuring the Progress Pride Flag was unveiled on the forecourt of the Bendigo Town Hall at the top of Bull Street on Monday morning.
Bendigo Pride Festival director John Richards said the flag was a symbol of the many different identities that make up the vibrant, resilient LGBTQIA+ community.
"This mural, right in the heart of Bendigo, is a watershed moment for LGBTQIA+ people in Bendigo," he said.
"When queer Bendigonians see the artwork, they will know their city sees and celebrates them - and other passers-by will be reminded of the wonderful contribution that LGBTQIA+ people make to the Bendigo community."
Greater Bendigo has now joined other councils around Australia such as the City of Sydney and City of Port Phillip to install public street art to celebrate the LGBTIQA+ communities.
Mayor Andrea Metcalf said the new artwork was installed over the weekend in plenty of time for the Bendigo Pride Festival which takes place from March 18 to April 3, 2022.
"The installation of the Pride Flag artwork is an important acknowledgement of and support for the LGBTQIA+ community," Cr Metcalf said.
"It also demonstrates that Greater Bendigo is an inclusive and welcoming city and I'm delighted to see it take pride of place in front of the Bendigo Town Hall.
"The new artwork adds to Bendigo's vibrant street art scene and will become a great selfie spot where people can take images and share them across social media.
"It also aligns with recommendations and actions featured in the Council Plan and the Healthy Greater Bendigo Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan to support our LGBTQIA+ community.
"I think it looks fantastic and will become a very popular attraction in the city centre."
Coinciding with the unveiling was the launch of this year's Bendigo Pride Festival.
Mr Richards said the event was a celebration for the entire community, no matter their story or identity.
"As LGBTQIA+ people, we pride ourselves on being loving, inclusive and just," he said.
"But sometimes members of our own community can feel like they aren't represented or their voices aren't being heard.
"We're here to tell all members of our community that it doesn't matter what letter of LGBTQIA+ you identify as, you are valued and you belong."
A cornerstone event of this year's festival is a community forum, Racism in the LGBTQIA+ Community, on March 26.
Hosted by SBS presenter Patrick Abboud, the forum will hear from Aboriginal actor and activist Jack Charles and Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Todd Fernando their experiences as queer people of colour.
Other highlights include:
- Fierce! An exhibition of Bendigo's Drag Queen at the Living Space Art Gallery in the Information Centre.
- The very first running of the Thorne Harbour Bendigo Pride Dog Show, part of opening weekend fair day Pride in the Park (Saturday 18 March)
- Award-winning comedy Buyer and Cellar - set entirely in Barbra Streisand's basement - at The Engine Room (26 and 27 March)
- Drag mascot Deborah Triangle will again get down and dirty with her now iconic Pride of the Mine tour at the Central Deborah Gold Mine (Saturday 2 April).
- The world premiere for a brand new animated series featuring the stories and voices of LGBTQIA+ Bendigo residents (Saturday 26 March).
- The inaugural Craig Middleton Memoral Award as part of the Queer Country Art Exhibition
The Pride Flag is the third mural to be painted on the Town Hall forecourt since 2017.
The city engaged public art contractor/artist Nacho Station to undertake the installation of the Pride Flag.
You can find more information and purchase tickets for the festival online at bendigopridefestival.com.au
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