In a world that for too long has solely centered cisgender heteronormativity, LGBTQ+ people have had to go to extra lengths to discover stories, histories, objects, people, and spaces that can reflect and celebrate our truths. From the entertainment that permeates mass culture to, more often than not, the families we grow up in, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming individuals have had to work to discover the people, spaces, and things that offer us confidence, affirmation, and joy. With “Finding Our Happy,” we’re celebrating those mundane and monumental discoveries. And we invite you to look closely and see how many references you can find/relate to!
Finding Our Happy is designed and created by three Philly-based LGBTQ+ artists, Nilé Livingston, Nicole Nikolich, and Marisa Velázquez-Rivas, along with writer and curator, Conrad Benner. The mural takes inspiration from our own experiences as well as the experiences of a number of LGBTQ+ Philadelphians who responded to our open call for ideas. “Finding Our Happy” is supported by Mural Arts Philadelphia, and has been installed on Philly’s historic LGBTQ+ Feminist Bookstore, Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room. A bookstore many of us have long used as a resource for LGBTQ+ joy and community.