CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Celebrating our LGBTQ2S+ artists under the rainbow

Daniel Fobert : Under the Rainbow, 2021

By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Councill

June is Pride month, a time when LGBTQ2S+ communities around the world celebrate the freedom to be themselves. And so the Quinte Arts Council is proud to host the third annual Everyone Under the Rainbow show.

But Pride is about more than just rainbows and parades. Pride month is rooted in a history of oppression, harassment and violence against the LGBTQ2S+ community, and this month’s celebration is an antidote, of sorts, dedicated to uplifting and amplifying LGBTQ2S+ voices, celebrating their culture and supporting LGBTQ2S+ rights.

While the QAC gallery is still closed, we invite you to a celebration of art in a variety of mediums – sculpture, oil, acrylic, collage and digital – that reflects, respects, features and speaks to our LGBTQ2S+ community and allies. Featured artists Luis Cisneros, Sarah Winn, Daniel Fobert, Ella Wagner, Rosyln Dechert and Yuan-Quin Ingrid Kao are displayed in our Gallery Window at 36 Bridge Street East, Belleville. While there are dozens of different pride flags, representing a spectrum of sex, sexuality, attraction, and gender, you’ll find the art displayed under three flags: the six-striped rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBTQ2S+ pride and social movements, the transgender flag and the pansexual flag. Our intention is to foster new connections with artists in our LGBTQ2S+ community in Quinte to provide a safe place for them to showcase and celebrate their art, and provide a safe place for them to be. (We are also hosting a virtual show that is open to submissions throughout the month of June.)

“LGBTQ2S+ representation matters, and seeing artists, allies and advocates who proudly embrace their identities contributes to education, increased acceptance and ultimately community building,” says QAC executive director Janet Jarrell. “Art increases visibility of the LGBTQ2S+ community as opposed to being rendered invisible. Art affirms that the LGBTQ2S+ community exists, it matters, and is worthy of love, respect and inclusion.”

While Pride is celebrated in June, it’s imperative to work towards a more diverse, inclusive and educated community year-round. Hate crimes don’t just happen elsewhere: in December 2020, the Trenton-based Grind and Vine owned by entrepreneur Taylor Russett was subjected to five targeted attacks of vandalism, property damage, arson, and hate crime in its first month of opening. The community response was overwhelming, raising over $10,000 to pay for the damages, taking to social and news media to say, this behaviour is not okay.

The QAC is proud to be part of the LGBT+ Tourism Strategy Working Group led by the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board (which came out of a Destination Audit by Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC)), that is working towards the goal of creating a welcoming region for LGBT+ travellers and providing a voice (and safe space) for the local LGBT+ community.

On June 23 and 24, the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board, in partnership with SAGA-LGBTQ and Bay of Quinte Pride, is hosting a webinar about creating LGBTQ2S Cultural Awareness, led by Stacey Love-Jolicoeur, an educator and support worker for the LGBTQ2S community and new chair for Bay of Quinte Pride. Topics will include: LGBTQ2S history, gender versus sexuality, terminology, examining our conscious and internalized bias about the LGBTQ2S culture, questions that are OK to ask and questions that are NOT OK to ask, and more.

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