Wells Fargo Installs LGBT Mural in Chelsea, Donates to ASOs

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Jan 13, 2014

Banking giant Wells Fargo knows just what it takes to get a return on its investments. And with their recent donation to AIDS Service Organization the Gay Men's Health Crisis and the installation of a new mural in their Chelsea branch, they hope to create stronger bonds with the community.

"Wells Fargo has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion and is proud to serve the LGBT community," said Wells Fargo's Metro New York Area President Eleanor Willets. "This mural highlights Chelsea's involvement in the United States gay and lesbian rights movement and celebrates those who advocated and inspired positive change."

In December 2013, Wells Fargo unveiled an LGBT-focused mural in its Chelsea store, located on Seventh Avenue and 17th Street in New York. Positioned in an LGBT "gayborhood," the mural is one of several around the country that highlights the company's support of LGBT communities.

"The Wells Fargo Community Mural Program is dedicated to creating unique, custom-designed photo collages, printed on a variety of materials and incorporated into many different settings," reads their mission statement. "From small towns to big cities, custom murals have been installed in over 1,800 Wells Fargo locations nationwide. Each mural reflects the joint effort of many people, including Wells Fargo regional leadership and local historical societies, libraries and museums."

Among those photos in the Chelsea mural is one of men reading Gay magazine, circa 1971. The mural key attributes the photo to Kay Lahusen, who was "instrumental in New York's Gay rights movement as one of the first openly gay photojournalists in America."

Another photo by Lahusen shows the first gay marching band on Christopher Street Liberation Day in June 1974. The event was held on the last Saturday in June, in memory of the Stonewall Riots. In the 1980s, the events became known as Gay Pride. Lahusen's photo of gay rights buttons, circa 1977, also appears in the mural.

Another photo shows a Gay Freedom Day parade and celebration in San Francisco, 1979, with marchers carrying signs commemorating the riots at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street on June 28. 1969.

In another example of community-based philanthropy, on Dec. 12, 2013
Wells Fargo donated $50,000 to GMHC to support their work of providing HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy.

"GMHC is indebted to Wells Fargo for its support of people affected by HIV and AIDS," said GMHC’s Managing Director of Development, Communication and Marketing Seth Rosen. "Not only is Wells Fargo an immensely generous supporter of GMHC, but its new mural is a wonderful example of the organization’s support of the LGBT community. We feel so fortunate to partner with Wells Fargo as they change the world for so many people."

Wells Fargo supports several NYC-based LGBT organizations, both philanthropically and through employee volunteers, including The Hetrick-Martin Institute, the Ali Forney Center and The Center. Their employees regularly participate in the AIDS Walk New York and Pride parades across the city. This is the third LGBT-focused mural that Wells Fargo has unveiled. There is one in San Francisco and one in Washington, D.C.

"The murals have been well-received by local communities, as they demonstrate -- in a strong visual way -- Wells Fargo’s commitment to being ’America’s Community Bank,’" wrote the company in a recent statement.

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Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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