Arcs of triumph

Rainbow drawings and displays throughout South Philadelphia are helping communities cope with the coronavirus crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made displays of frustration and fear quite apparent since mid-March, but many South Philly residents are creating art to grace their communities with a symbol of hope: the rainbow. Their window-based rainbow drawings are joining a growing trend across the country to rally the nation in its fight against coronavirus. The colorful collection has inspired other residents to go hunting for the handiwork.

Inspirational rainbow. Photo by Joseph Myers.

“These are definitely tough times, so we’re happy to do our part to let people know that we’re going to pull through,” Lisa Valerio said outside her home on the 1800 block of Wolf Street. “Especially here in this part of the city, where people are very personable and rooted in their neighborhoods, it’s great to see so many people involved.”

Adriana Valerio with her rainbow. Photo by Joseph Myers.

Adriana, the Girard Estate resident’s daughter, developed an interest in decorating their home shortly after the March 13 announcement that Philadelphia’s schools would be going on hiatus. Eager to be a positive presence, she designed a sizable rainbow that she and her mom have used to complement their Easter decorations. She likes that so many others are also building a sense of camaraderie.

“It’s good to give people support,” the youngster said, pointing out that, until recently, balloons with messages such as “Smile” and “Be happy” had greeted passersby, too. “It’s sad that we’re going through this, but we’re not going to give up.”

The Valerios, who also noted they are making masks for community members, have a considerable number of rainbow-loving peers in South Philly. For proof, check out this map that shows documented examples of homes that bear some homage to the meteorological phenomenon. Stacey Gargano Minniti finds the abundance of spots heartwarming and feels it is serving as a unifier during this puzzling period.

Sidewalk rainbow by Stacey Gargano Minniti. Photo by Joseph Myers.

“So far, I have seen Post-it Note rainbows, chalk rainbows, and rainbows that were made for elderly residents by children in order to spread the joy,” the Packer Park resident said. “I have joined in the rainbow hunt by not only capturing the rainbows I find, but also by drawing my own rainbows with my children around the community.”

Gargano Minniti was made aware of the Philadelphia Rainbow Hunt through an article. She started a Facebook group to invite people to participate in posting images of their creations. She has since spread word of hunts on various pages, and likes that more houses are becoming involved.

“I see a lot of the rainbows that are displayed involving hope, faith, and the belief that we will all get through this together,” she said. “It brings a sense of unity that this will all be over before we know it.”

Chalk rainbow in Marconi Plaza. Photo by Darren Fava.

Do you have a rainbow to share? Add it to the map, and send us a photo so we can post it on our Facebook and Instagram.