Carbondale's community connector

Painting for Pride

Locations: News Published

Walking past the Carbondale Recreation Center, you will notice a colorful addition to the sidewalk, a Pride flag, courtesy of Carbondale resident and Basalt High School (BHS) senior Hannah Miller.
It is part of Miller’s Capstone project, a high school graduation requirement for students in the Roaring Fork School District. According to the district’s website, “A capstone is a culminating academic and intellectual experience that: encourages students to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as communication, public speaking, research, media, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, or goal setting; helps prepare students for college, modern careers, and adult life; and develops character and life skills.”
The idea for a Pride-themed project came in part because Miller participated in BHS’s Gay-Straight Alliance, starting in her freshman year and then last year, as a junior, serving as co-president with classmate Abigail Coulter.
Miller’s father, who works as facilities maintenance lead for Carbondale’s Parks and Recreation Department, “was a very big help” in getting her connected with recreation center staff.
Miller approached Community Center and Recreation Programs Manager Jessi Rochel with a description of her painting project, including a Pride-rainbow theme.
Rochel then brought the idea to her boss, Parks and Recreation Director Eric Brendlinger, and Carbondale Town Manager Jay Harrington. When Town approval was given, Miller got the go-ahead to paint a Pride flag on the sidewalk of the covered patio area outside the rec center.
“The flag design that I choose incorporates Gay Pride, and on the triangle side, it incorporates trans[gender], Black and Brown lives as well,” Miller said.
Rochel said this is her first involvement with a Capstone project student. “It was great to be able to be involved. I’m really glad that we were able to get the town support and backing so that I could give her the go-ahead to complete her Capstone project with us involved.”
For Rochel, “Partnering with Hannah on this Capstone project has been really exciting for us and for me personally because we really, as the Rec Center and the Rec Department in the Town of Carbondale, want to build this inclusive community where everybody feels safe and welcome. And so when she approached me about wanting to paint rainbows, or what is now a Pride flag, that was for me an easy thing to want to say yes to because that’s our goal — we want everyone to feel welcome coming through our doors.”
Plans for more Pride artwork in the Valley are underway. Miller is contacting staff at the Basalt Regional Library about creating something for the library’s teen space. “When I was in middle school, I would go to the library after school almost every single day, and people that don’t have a safe place at home that they can go to, they could be there, even if it’s only after school,” Miller recalled.
Miller hopes the Pride flag will “bring more awareness to people around the Valley so that people feel safe and supported and more welcome.”

Tags: #capstone #Carbondal Rec #Pride #schools
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