Love is the keyword for a juried art exhibition of LGBTQ+ Youth Art.
The show, which will open in April at the Taos Center for the Arts, is now accepting entries. Artists may submit work up until 5 p.m. March 5, to be considered for the April show. The jurors are seeking works of art that express the artist’s feelings about “loving yourself, loving others, identity, diversity, and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.”
TCA Executive Director Deborah McLean said, “The inspiration came from the Gender Sexuality Alliance Group at Taos High. The group expressed an interest in doing an exhibition, and Irene Loy (DreamTree Project’s Outreach Coordinator) followed through by planting the seed with the TCA. The TCA was thrilled with the idea, and the timing was perfect. The TCA is now working closely with the GSA in mentoring students in all aspects of planning and implementing an exhibition, including determining a theme, writing the call for entry, marketing, jurying the art, curating and hanging the show, and organizing the reception.”
The show’s theme is “Love who you are, and love who you want.”
“It couldn’t express the sentiments and beliefs of this group more,” McLean said. “For the GSA to take on this project to bring about awareness in our community is commendable. And as Taos is an ‘art colony,’ how apropos that their voice is through the arts. The students planning the reception are also planning poetry readings and other art performances. In essence, the reception will be an event with other thought-provoking activities that continue to speak on the theme.”
“I’ve been working with the current Taos High GSA president, Kineo Memmer, and the TCA to get this scheduled,” Loy said. “The art will be up April 2-6, and the reception will be April 5, from 4-6 p.m. It’ll be fabulous, with visual and performance art by youth.”
“Those of us in GSA have wanted to do an LGBTQ+ art show for some time now,” Memmer said. “Thankfully this year there was enough motivation and support from the TCA and our DreamTree sponsors to put a show together for this spring. We really just want to show the adults in Taos that there is a large youth LGBTQ+ community in town and that they matter. We also wanted to give these young people an opportunity to express themselves since there are not many other outlets for that. We named the show ‘LGBTQ+ Youth Art Exhibition’ because we wanted to keep it simple and to the point. We didn’t want to beat around the bush with the title or change it to try and get people to come. There is some resistance in high school to go to events with anything like ‘LGBTQ+,’ ‘Queer,’ or ‘GSA’ in the title. We wanted to stay true to the purpose of the show and the people being represented. The hope is to stem the stigma surrounding the topic.”
Memmer said she was looking forward to seeing the members of GSA and other LGBTQ+ youth enjoying themselves and feeling wanted at the exhibition. “My main goal as an ally is to help my LGBTQ+ peers feel as comfortable as possible and to feel supported. I want them to know that there are people out there who love them and who will defend them and lend a helping hand whenever they need it. Hopefully by coming to this exhibit, adults will see how many beautiful and talented young members of the LGBTQ+ community there are in Taos. They will be able to see how these young people view themselves and the community through their artwork, and they will see the talented and driven performers. And I hope that other youth in the community come to the show and start to become more accepting and supportive toward their peers.”
McLean said, although the duration of the exhibition is short, it “should convey a powerful message that will last long in our hearts. How artists will interpret the theme is an unknown at this point, but we do look forward to courageous and powerful messages that will evoke conversations and tolerance and love for all.”
For more information, call (575) 768-2052.