2nd annual Spring Queer Arts Show hosted by AU student groups
Art show featured works by AU’s queer community
AmLit, AU Queers & Allies, AUSG Women’s Initiative and Speak Fresh hosted the second annual Spring Queer Arts Show on April 21 as a celebration of the work of queer artists on AU’s campus.
The event was held in Hughes Formal Lounge, which was kept dim with string lights hung up around the walls and columns to illuminate the artwork and bring attention to the short film being projected onto the wall. Poetry, photography, prints and interactive collages were hung up on the walls and guests could wander the area to look at the works.
About an hour into the event, members of AU’s slam poetry group Speak Fresh and other students shared their poetry. Guests sat on the floor around the poets when they read their works, creating an intimate atmosphere.
Carolyn Schneider, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and an editor for AmLit, helped organize the first show last year. She described the event as a celebration, saying she wanted it to be like a party.
“There’s so much negativity that we could be focusing on, and it’s important to focus on those things sometimes,” Schneider said. “But this is definitely a moment to focus on the more positive and the resilience of queer people.”
Artworks were collected through a submission drive that ran from after spring break until mid-April. Schneider said that none of the submissions were turned away and that there were no criteria for topic of the art. The only requirement was that the artist identified as queer.
“Oftentimes I think there’s a pigeonholing of queer artists and they’re told their art has to be queer for it to be legible under the queer spectrum,” said Schneider. “The show is meant to help us all understand that queer art doesn’t have to specifically be about queer issues.”
Kendall Baron, member of Women’s Initiative and Speak Fresh and a junior in the School of Public Affairs, also helped organize the event two years in a row. Baron said she hoped that the queer people who attended the event would feel at home and find their experiences reflected in the stories shared through the artworks.
“As a queer artist, I think there are a lot of times where you kind of gamble in your head if it’s safe to present work that deals with explicitly queer themes and how that will be taken,” Baron said. “So hopefully being put on by queer people for queer artists should allow for artists to feel safe sharing their work.”
Baron added that she hoped that the non-queer people who attended the event would see from the artwork that queer people are not one-dimensional, but rather a diverse group of individuals.
Schneider said that last year, the show was much more of a sporadic, last minute event. They only had about $100 to spend on food and it wasn’t very organized. This year, Schneider and the other organizers had more money and time to work with and their hard work produced a large turnout. Schneider hopes that this event will continue on each year.