The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Inc. (GEAE), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the region’s LGBT community and its straight allies through educational programs, social events, and opportunities for service, is excited to present their first LGBTQ art exhibit opening Saturday, June 1 at the Erie Art Gallery. This exhibit, which will remain on display through June (Pride month), is partially funded by Erie Arts & Culture's Project Grant Program, which is supported by donations from the community and contributions to the Erie Arts Endowment.
This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which were the catalyst for what was to become the Gay Rights Movement, although LGBT civil rights groups existed decades before 1969. The board of the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) discussed the idea of presenting an art show that would complement the other celebratory events of Pride month, June 1-30. It would also showcase the work of LGBTQ artists.
The GEAE decided to put the art show together because a juried LGBTQ art exhibit, to the best of their knowledge, had never happened in the Erie area. This will be an exciting, new addition to Pride celebrations all through June and has artistic, cultural, and historical significance for our region.
The exhibit is titled LGBTQ Juried Art Exhibit. It runs June 1 – 30, at Erie Art Gallery, Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
17 artists and 22 pieces of art were accepted into the show. The exhibit features the work of LGBTQ artists from Erie, Cleveland, Akron, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and areas between and beyond.
The jurors, Sharon M. Louden and Hrag Vartanian, chose the work included in the exhibit. The jurors will present up to three Juror Awards of $500 each to artists at a closing public reception on Sunday, June 30.
Sharon M. Loudenis an artist, educator, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution.
Hrag Vartanian is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic, a successful online magazine that features news reports, reviews, and discussions about art. He is also an artist, art critic, curator, and lecturer on contemporary art. Although he resides in Brooklyn, this summer he will be on the faculty of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution.
As with any exhibit that has an open Call for Entries with no designated subject or theme, there is a wide variety of styles, subjects, and media. There are some very powerful pieces in the show, while others are more light-hearted. It’s an interesting mix that contributes to the success of the exhibit and shows the diversity of work by LGBTQ artists in the region.