Hiram Butler Gallery’s New Gay Conversion Therapy Parking Lot

The newest work showing at Hiram Butler Gallery occupies a special position on the grounds: It’s right outside along Blossom St., facing the townhouse that River Pointe Church owns and uses for events. (Its main religious campus is in Richmond between Ransom Rd. and 59.) Artist Robert Rosenberg designed the sign for that spot specifically, and Melissa Eason put it together. It now fronts the row of 4 parking spots at the edge of gallery’s property.

Since the church moved in across the street at 4513 Blossom in 2015, those parking spots — along with the rest of the block — have been seeing a lot more car traffic than they used to:


Previous signs — pictured above — were a lot smaller.

The church’s townhouse is one in a row of several such structures that now line the opposite side of block:

(For anyone who wants a closer view of the art, 4517 Blossom St. is currently listed for sale)

Those looking to take a piece the work home with them can pick up souvenir bumper stickers from the gallery:

Beyond the hedges, its complex stretches nearly the full length of the block between Fowler and Patterson streets:

Photos: Swamplox inbox (sign and stickers); Hiram Butler Gallery (building and garden)

Religious Art

31 Comment

  • Never heard of River Pointe Church. Are they anti gay?

  • Thought this was satire for a moment. Absolutely disgusting. Shouldn’t this be illegal?

  • HIBTK: Why would political humor be illegal?

  • Perfectly OK to discriminate against straight people. Double standards rule!!!!

  • So this is a joke then? I see the bright pink colors and all..
    I read Swamplot’s submission and I didn’t notice anything about humor. Maybe I read over it?

  • I hope this is a joke. If not, I’ll be over there protesting and channeling the ghost of Marvin Zindler in the morning.

  • HIBTK: What about it would/should be illegal? (not that I think you can ‘pray the gay away’, but I also don’t care if someone feels like doing it, and for sure don’t care to the point where government should jail people for doing it).

  • SFP: How is he discriminating against straight people? He’s discriminating against people who park in his parking spaces.

  • @Cody. Can you pray away white or black? What would you think if it said black conversion to white? I’m gay and we fought too hard to have religious bigots put up signs like this. What did you think about white only fountains in the 50’s? Their right to discriminate? Come on man, it’s 2018 not 1918.

  • Sigh.
    The sign is a clever way of discouraging members of the River Ponte Church from parking in the gallery’s spaces. Please read it again: “Where we pray the straight away”.
    The River Ponte Church has notoriously excluded gay people from its membership (oh, Google it), so what member would want his or her car to be parked in front of such a sign? (Hint: none of them.)
    I applaud Hiram Butler Gallery’s wit and solidarity with LGBT causes, and am bewildered by the seeming lack of reading comprehension and/or humor by some of the above commenters.

  • I used to get worked up reading the comments section (no. 1 internet mistake, I know) but this one has made me realize just how comically low reading comprehension on this blog is. 90% of ya’ll haven’t read the posts you’re commenting on. #ReadBeyondTheHeadline

  • Big Tex FTW.

  • We live in TX though.. can you blame us for being overly sensitive? We outlawed gay marriage a mere 6 years ago. Thankfully Obama’s SCOTUS changed this. If it wasn’t for him we would still outlaw gay marriage due to “Jesus not liking it”.

  • @Big Tex – Help me out here w/re to the anti-gay thing at this church. I googled it (well, bing’d it rather) and couldn’t find anything other than a single yelp review from a woman who made the claim that she’s not allowed to become a member because she’s gay. Three pages deep into the search and not much turns up. I tried different combinations of the church’s name alongside “gay”, “gay conversion”, and “gay membership”. The results returned just got more and more obscure.

    FTR, I don’t condone or support such practices. It’s just a hell of an accusation to make and I’m genuinely curious in the way I suppose some folks get curious about freeway pileups and train derailments.

  • Big Tex- I googled and couldn’t find anything. Can you post a link?

  • I don’t get it – are church members parking on the gallery’s private property or something?

  • I’m in agreement with 100% of Big Tex’s comment. Readers should have taken a few quiet moments to ruminate on the wit before donning their “Social Justice Warrior” bonnet and going on a tear. [I’m satirizing those people – to be clear so we don’t have another moment of umbrage.]
    The gallery did a wonderfully clever job of making its point against gay conversion therapy AND creating a deterrent to church members parking on the gallery’s parking spots. Two birds, one stone.

  • 1,000 upvotes for Big Tex’s comment here.

  • Looking at the bottom photo, I remember there being a sidewalk there before developer built the THs..wonder how he was able to build and not have a sidewalk?

  • I always thought swamplot folks were more clever than most of these comments… Sad.

  • Rob: No, I don’t think you can pray a color away. Just like I said I don’t think you can pray gay away. And there wasn’t laws allowing segregation. Segregation WAS the law. If government was smaller and not in our face, I think hideous separatist laws (which ironically seemed to have a fresh push on the left) would have gone away sooner by the free market.

  • Big Tex: Oh I got it and thought it was funny. People see “gay ‘conversion'” and assume gay -> straight and not the other way around.
    But while in jest, if they really were trying to convert straight to gay (or claiming to be able to do so) my feelings would be the same as the other way: More power to ya. If that’s what you want to (foolishly) try, go for it. It’s not the governments damn business to tell someone what they can and can’t do with themselves.

  • @Big Tex:
    Yes, all of that. “Gay conversion therapy” isn’t a one way process. If the gay can be prayed away, so can the straight.
    Of course, gay can’t be prayed away because gay people are born gay. I know this to be true because I was born straight.

  • @BigTex: Thanks for pointing out what many of us missed (me, at first, too).

    If you search River Pointe’s web site for “gay” or “homosexual” you’ll get zero hits. Like Joel Osteen, these megachurches do everything possible to avoid the issue, but the History & Beliefs page linked about refers to biblical inerrancy as a core belief. If you go to YouTube and scroll through the sermons you’ll see they are all delivered by men, consistent with conservative churches that do not allow women to lead or preach. I think it’s safe to say that a church that doesn’t allow women in the pulpit is not going to welcome “practicing” homosexuals. As a Christian myself, I find it profoundly sad that such churches would exclude any group of people, when the core message of Christ’s gospel is that all are worthy of love and his ministry frequently focused on the outcasts of society.

  • Big Tex- nothing showing up on Google. Again, please provide the links.

  • @ Cody: when you claim that there are “hideous separatist laws” being pushed by “the left” you should specify exactly what and who you are talking about. Otherwise, you’re just pushing divisive fake news.
    And your sermon about the free market and small government is irrelevant in this thread. Minors and young adults pressured or even forced into gay conversion therapy is nobody’s idea of the free exchange of goods and services, and the harm done to people by that therapy is something any government should want to prevent as a matter of public health.

  • The gallery doesn’t own those spots, they are over a City easement. And that sign isn’t “art”, it’s a sign regarding parking that the gallery doesn’t own.

    It’s damaging local property values. In trying to smear the church the gallery owner has made himself look like a bigot.

  • Thanks for the article, Mike. If Rdog is right, the sign will be more ironic than they intended.