Atlanta

LOCATION
1125 Euclid Ave NE
STORYTELLER
Lesley R.
ARTIST
Jon Key

From thousands of submissions, 8 American Portrait stories were brought to life by muralists translating the words of everyday people to communities across America. In Atlanta, we collaborated with artist Jon Key to create a mural inspired by the story of Lesley R.

Jon was inspired to create this mural based on his experience growing up in the South and Lesley R's sentiment “I am not invisible.”

“This mural is inspired by my time growing up in The South and my close friends from high school that were like my brothers – my chosen family. We were inseparable, connected by an unspoken truth not known to us at the time. Our friendship became a support system, and as we began to understand our queerselves more clearly, a bond that reminded us we were not alone, not invisible, and safe together. We have now all moved across the country, but I am reminded how we are still intertwined and connected after all these years."

— Jon Key

See The Story That Inspired The Mural.

My greatest challenge is…
My greatest challenge is living in a world that was not designed for me. I was diagnosed with schizoeffective disorder-bipolar at the age of 39. I have PTSD, OSC, GAD, panic disorder, agoraphobia and I hear voices all the time. I didn't leave my house for over 2 years. My therapist recommended I try going back to college as social therapy. 4 years later I graduated from Virginia Wesleyan University with a BA, Aug. 2019, and I am in a master's program at Old Dominion University. I study mental disorders, psychedelic-assisted therapy, and disability studies. I attend and present at conferences. I always have my service dog Baylee at my side. I want to make others aware that we are neurodivergent and we are everywhere. We, I am not invisible. People with mental illnesses can enrich our lives.

Look Behind the Scenes.

Meet the Mural Artist, Jon Key.

Jon Key is a Queer Black man originally from the small rural town Seale, Alabama now living and working in Bushwick, NY. A writer, designer and painter, his work excavates the lineage and history of his identity through four themes: Southernness, Blackness, Queerness, and Family. Through the process of writing, photography and painting, Jon’s work is portrayed graphically through four colors: Green, Black, Violet and Red. Respectively, these colors intertwine memory and intimate recounting of the four pillars grounding the work.

Stories shared on this site capture a glimpse into people’s lives across the country