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Public art is raising awareness for the LGBTQ+ community

Colorful animal sculptures in Downtown Orono are honoring Pride Month and raising awareness.

ORONO, Maine — June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month! 

Credit: NCM
The sculpture represents the Transgender Pride Flag designed by Monica Helms, an openly transgender woman.

Folks in the town of Orono are putting up sculptures of colorful animals to honor the month. 

"This project is so important to have representation during Pride Month," said Orono resident Ash Cardurns. "Especially during COVID-19 when we're all socially distancing," adding that visual depictions of pride are more important than ever.

For Cardurns, this project is personal as she's a mother of a transgender child. 

"I know the importance of representation and the disparities we're still grappling with," she said. 

Each animal sculpture represents a different pride flag. A Giraffe, Ostrich, and Unicorn each represent a different variation of the rainbow pride flag. There's a zebra to represent the transgender pride flag. 

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"Our hope is that people will take photos with these sculptures, post them on their social media and help us raise awareness and support," said Robert Jackson, a Staff Associate for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Maine. "We also want to raise funds for Maine TransNet, which is really the premier organization in the state that supports trans folks who are among the most vulnerable in the community," he added. 

Cardurns believes this project will have a lasting impact here in Maine. She said it's been great to raise awareness and raise money for a great cause. 

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