Community Recognition Through Art at San Francisco’s LGBTQ Center

Written by: Juliana Choy Sommer
Published: January 24, 2023
Category: Featured Clients

In December 2022, San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ Center at 1800 Market Street together with advocacy Latinx non-profit AGUILAS, unveiled their latest artwork, Aegis, in recognition of the lives lost to gun violence at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016 and at the Club Q shootings in 2022 in Colorado Springs.

Created by Brazilian artist, Wilson Ferreira, Aegis is a metal sculpture shaped in a V-shape enclosing a rainbow flag.

The shield contains a multitude of small perforations which reveal the colorful flag inside it and are intended to grow and change as you approach the sculpture from different vantage points.

In 2021, the LGBTQ+ Center approached Priority Architectural Graphics with their request for art installation assistance and budgeting for the piece. The Priority team consisting of Lead Designer, Branden Portman, Project Manager, Monica Fajardo and Production and Installation Manager, Jose Vargas, met with Ferreira, LGBTQ+ Center staff and representatives from AGUILAS to discuss the project’s scope, objectives, and significance to the community.

Artist Ferreira shared his initial sketches for the artwork itself:

After the project launched, the joint client-Priority team continued their collaborative working process via Zoom and Microsoft Teams, sharing screens and progressing through design work and fabrication planning phases. Priority in-house fabricators worked closely with the artist around metallic materials, coloration techniques and recommendations regarding installation approaches to finalize the piece. Detailed planning but more importantly, listening to our clients (the artist, the Center team and AGUILAS) was the key to successful completion of the Aegis commemorative project.

AGUILAS Program Director and Head of Diversity, Renato M. Talhadas, described his perspective working with the Priority team:

“In my research to find a business to help produce this significant piece of work, I found myself struggling with some other production companies to understand the sensitivity of this project even with just the basics of getting a quote. With Priority Graphics, I felt heard and supported. There was a standard and quality of work that was very detailed and accurately portrayed the piece from a design on paper to a real-life sculpture. I felt Priority Graphics executives handled this well with care, attention, kindness, and professionalism.

By supporting nonprofit agencies and causes significant to marginalized communities through taking on projects like these, they are setting themselves apart from the competition and demonstrating that businesses can be allies with organizations instead of demonstrating negative political views against them. My comment comes from a place where places of business today can refuse and turn away any person(s) due to their religious beliefs or political affiliations. Yet with a project as sensitive as this, for Priority Graphics this wasn’t even a concern or an issue. While this may not have been a problem with our project, unfortunately it is not the case for most places in this country and was a worry I had when I was looking into places of business for production of this project.”

In October of 2022, the close collaboration between the artist, the LGBTQ+ Center staff, AGUILAS and the Priority Graphics team paid off. The Aegis sculpture was built and installed in just 30 days and met our objectives of 100% client satisfaction, fabrication precision and high fit/finish.

Artist Wilson Ferreira commented “The Aegis Memorial in San Francisco is a powerful and moving sculpture created to remember the victims of the Pulse Nightclub attack. The sculpture serves as a reminder never to forget that day’s tragedy and honor the victims. This very special piece is a beautiful example of how art can be both a means of expressing grief but also honoring the victims of hate. I was honored to be chosen as the artist to design this sculpture. My experience with the entire Priority Architectural Graphics team was incredible. They are true professionals who gave full support in elaboration, technical follow-up, and making the piece; I hope to produce other projects with this team soon. Visiting the Pulse Memorial in San Francisco is a profoundly moving experience, one I hope everyone can connect with and never forget what happened.”

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