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Buffalo Artists Mickey Harmon and Ari Moore to Produce New Mural Celebrating LGBTQ+ Community

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Buffalo, NY – Today the Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative announced that local artists Mickey Harmon (American, born 1984) and Ari Moore (American, born 1953) will produce a mural focused on recognizing the struggle and history of LGBTQ+ activists beginning with imagery of the iconic Stonewall Inn and including portraits of key figures in the history and evolution of the movement. The mural will be produced on the side of Q Bar at 44 Allen Street.
Harmon is a Buffalo-based illustrator and graphic designer, co-owner of the Pine Apple Company on Allen Street, and chair of the Exist event that annually commences Buffalo Pride weekend. An active member of Buffalo’s LGBTQ+ scene, much of Harmon’s personal artwork revolves around themes related to this community. 
Moore, also a Buffalo-based artist, is co-producing the project. Moore has established herself as a leader and matriarch of the local movement for decades. Founders of the Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project exclaimed that “no substantive endeavor of collecting, performing, and archiving the queer history of this city could unfold far without Ari Moore.” In 2019, those same founders wrote an observation that is especially relevant and important to consider now: “It is impossible to think about race relations shaping queer histories and political and cultural practices, without considering how queers of color, and specifically black, have been denied access to economic and cultural resources, and simply the means to exist safely, let alone thrive.”1
In the 1970s, Moore attended the University of Buffalo and also pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education at Daemen College, then known as Rosary Hill College. She was an art instructor at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and also taught at the Langston Hughes Center. She was one of the first artists to show at Buffalo's Juneteenth Festival. Moore owned and operated the Inner City Art Studio before joining the Buffalo Police Department, where she served as an officer for twenty-five years before retiring. 
The artists will depict a wide range of individuals that have contributed to the movement, including Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, Henry Hay, Hal Call, Frank O’Hara, Bill Gardner, Don Licht, Jim Hays, Madeline Davis, Ann Hubbard, Sam Lollinger, John Behr, Mark Bozer, Mary Thomas, Bobbi Prepis, Alexis DeVeaux, Leslie Feinberg, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Ms. Major-Griffin-Gracy, Tangerra, Dorian Corey, Vicky Vogue, Carol Speser, Peggy Ames, Barbara Kavanaugh. This list of activists, leaders, cultural producers, advocates, and entertainers was established and researched by Moore, who has stated that she is proud to be “the receptacle of the oral history of Buffalo’s transgender community.”
The Albright-Knox is proud to partner with her and Harmon to create this celebratory space, and to have the support of M&T Bank, whose unwavering support helped to make the project possible.
“I think I speak on behalf of all of my M&T Bank LGBTQ+ colleagues when I say we were really excited to learn that the work of LGBTQ+ activists will be proudly displayed and honored in what’s been a very important location for our community for many years,” said Laura Klapper, a Project Manager at M&T Bank and President of M&T’s WNY Pride Employee Resource Group. “At M&T, we continue to strive for a more diverse and inclusive environment, and part of that commitment includes supporting initiatives that are important to employees like myself, an out and proud lesbian, and this mural couldn’t be a better representation of that!”
1. Grujić, Ana and Adrienne Hill. “Hometown Queens and Superheroes: Ari Moore’s Queer History of Buffalo.” Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, no. 35, 2019.