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True Colors – An Homage to Our LGBTQ+ Community
Twenty-Third Musing


by Ms. Terious

 

True Colors – An Homage to Our LGBTQ+ Community

The Twenty-Third Musing

There is history as to why the month of June has been designated as Pride Month in our country; in June of 1969 the Stonewall Uprising occurred at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar, and now a national monument in Manhattan. This was the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Although this was not the first time that police raided a gay bar and not the first time the LGBTQ+ community fought back, it was these events that forever changed the dialogue surrounding LGBTQ+ activism in this country.

The Smith Gallery & Fine Custom Framing, 190 Reno Ave in New Cumberland is proud to be a part of the homage to our LGBTQ+ community with the exhibit “True Colors” which opens on Thursday June 6th from 5 – 8pm. The art in this exhibition is a selection of works from over a dozen members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The exhibit is sponsored by Capital Blue Cross who, because of this exhibition, is making a donation to The LGBT Center of Central PA; and Susan’s Treasures, a unique and exciting gift shop located in the upstairs of the West Shore Farmers Market who is providing the cash awards to artists.

Susan Hubley, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Capital Blue Cross states, “Capital Blue Cross is proud to support The Smith Gallery’s inaugural True Colors event celebrating LGBTQ artists and artwork. Capital has become one of the region’s leading and most-trusted health insurers by consistently going the extra mile to improve the health of our members. Core to that mission is our commitment to equality, compassion, and inclusion – because in advocating for every individual, we can boost the collective well-being of the communities they call home.”

Amanda Carter, Interim Executive Director of The LGBT Center of Central PA, located in Harrisburg, remarked, “It is so generous for Capital Blue Cross to choose our organization and divert their donation in our direction.”

“It is always an honor when someone in the LGBTQ+ community steps up and is not afraid of being seen and heard. We have to understand that there are some of us who have not yet come into our own and those folks can be seriously inspired by people who are making themselves seen and heard. It is really important that the exhibition is happening and is an awesome opportunity to celebrate our communities, the work that we have done, and all the work that we still have to do today and tomorrow…This is a fantastic opportunity and bravo to all the artists who are participating and to the thoughtful gesture of The Smith Gallery for providing this opportunity.”

The evening will be fun filled with refreshments, a special brew created by brew master Kristen Richards, music provided by the Noah Springer Jazz Trio, and a presentation of awards for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place to the participating artists.

Craig Bomberger who is taking part in the exhibition had this to say about his entry into the exhibition, “The painting is based on the events that happened at Stonewall. Two years ago, my husband and I were in New York City and visited the actual bar itself. I remember feeling so emotional when I got there because of all of the history, and all of the people who had been there who started the first pride, and the uprising that became what we today, in the LGBTQ community, know as the start of LGBTQ history, the start of LGBTQ Pride. From the outside it is an unassuming little brick building in a little tiny neighborhood. Since then, I have been trying to figure out how I would pay homage to Stonewall and to pay homage to everything that has happened since Stonewall. My original thought was to do a very monochromatic brick wall in gray and really have the color come through on the rainbow itself. And then I decided that the bricks should have all of the colors of the rainbow in them to represent all of the people who for years had to blend in and be quiet and hide who they were as it wasn’t until that first brick was thrown at Stonewall that all of the colors of the people began to come out. I also wanted all of the colors to run and blend as it wasn’t a beautiful glowing moment and there is still a lot of heat and violence toward the LGBTQ community – I wanted that reflected in my painting – it isn’t a typical rainbow. I wanted it to say ‘Yes we’ve come a long way but there is still further to go and a lot more work to be done.’”

Kristen Richards, another artist who is taking part in the exhibition with her work entitled The Garden of Eve, says, “I am excited for this show, for Debbie, for our LGBTQ community, and for the concept around it. I am thrilled to be part of this as I was also part of the committee Debbie put together to assist in creating this exhibition.”

“I worked in oils quite a bit for years, then life and my job got in the way and I put my painting to the side. I am now revisiting my painting and realized that this piece, which I began years ago, needs to be seen and end up in a good home. This painting represents coming to terms with who you are, who you were, based on societal and familial expectations. We all come out of the womb and make our way about in this complex world that puts us in a box and sets parameters around us pursuant to who you want to be and who you want to be with. The beauty behind this painting is that it explores breaking free from these norms. There are a few butterflies in the painting reflecting the emergence from the cocoon and coming to terms with who you are, who you want to be, and who you want to be with.”

Rachel O’Connor, guest judge for this exhibition, is well known in the community as an adjunct professor of Art History, Messiah University; Education Director for CALC; and former curator at AAH.

She remarks about her role as guest judge, “I’m really excited and honored to be asked to judge this exhibit.” She went on to explain how she judges an exhibition, “Because I’m an art historian I have more of an academic eye so when I look at work, particularly when I first view it, I pay attention to my gut instinct which comes from all my years of studying art, teaching art history, and being a curator, I trust my instincts…I then take a very careful look at the painting itself – technique – how the artist’s technique is in handling the medium, their skill level, and principles of design. But after saying that I find that getting to the root of what the artist is trying to execute and how successful they are in conveying that weighs more heavily than skill level and technique.” She adds, “I love work that speaks to social issues and am drawn to the concept of what the artist is trying to convey in their pieces… what they are trying to say about their stories either personally or communally.  There are certain motifs, imagery, and iconography that have become a thread in western society and in various communities that help decode what the artist is trying to say.” She adds that art is subjective and there will always be a personal reaction to what one is viewing. She adds, “I ask myself, “Do I feel as a viewer that as I’m having a conversation with the work of art or the artist there is a message being conveyed?”

O’Connor feels that inclusivity is important in the arts and that intentional space needs to be available for art that comes from more marginalized communities and this is why it is important to the community that The Smith Gallery is providing space and an exhibition for artists within the LGBTQ+ community.

Visit the The Smith Gallery to view the True Colors exhibit, and many other talented artists whose works are featured. View the YouTube channel ArtTalks2u for The Smith Gallery Art Talks with many of the artists exhibiting in the gallery.  Make sure to follow The Smith Gallery on their Facebook page The Smith Gallery & Fine Custom Framing, their Instagram @FineArt2U, and online at fineart2u.com to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming events.

The Smith Gallery & Fine Custom Framing has added a new feature to their website. In honor of their 37th anniversary in business, you can now shop for art in their online gallery, https://www.smithcustomframing.com/shop-art/ . If you are hungry for local art and it is late at night or a Sunday afternoon, just click on this link and replenish your Halo of Happiness!

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The Tenth Muse was created to give inspiration, information and confidence to the reader.

This publication celebrates The Tenth Muse that is alive in all of us! She gives us the confidence to embrace going beyond the nine original muses.

Ms. Terious explores many subjects related to art and framing that can be used in the real world as you explore your own personal tastes and experiences without boundaries.

See all Tenth Muse articles