My New Gig – Artist in Residence with Most Wanted Fine Art

Most Wanted Fine Art Resident Artist

Exciting news to share – after wrapping up my current project, I’m moving in an entirely new direction with social media as a 2015 Resident Artist with Most Wanted Fine Art. The artists in residence each invest their talent into community art projects and exhibit their work.

My project will be an expansion of the LGBTQ&A interview series to people throughout Western Pennsylvania, especially those whose voices are rarely heard. I’ll be using the format of a blog to amplify their stories, insights and experiences. It will be part queer history, part documentary, and part advocacy. Unlike previous LGBTQ&A, this will exclusively focus on people who identify as LGBTQ and/or queer. Ally voices might be included in a future iteration, but this will be queer specific.

My project has three goals:

  • Documenting the lived experiences of queer people in this region to challenge stereotypes, consider how resources are allocated and explore how the queer issues intersect with issues facing many neighbors – economics, quality of life, health, environment, education, etc.
  • Use these real stories to educate and connect with allies in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ equality, especially statewide non-discrimination protections.
  • Amplify the voices of those who are not often at the table, in the executive suite or behind the blog.

I’ll literally be traveling around Western PA during 2015 to interview people (and doing some online interviews as well.)  The Q&A will be published on an ongoing basis. I’ll kick that off in February 2015. I’ll also work with MWFA to publish zines with the Q&A.

Stay tuned for more details.  I’ll also be working with MWFA co-owner Nina Sauer to curate an exhibit on the art of blogging in November 2015. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

This is really exciting for me. I’ve often thought that we need to tap into the “Will & Grace” phenomenon where people claim that “knowing” the characters Will & Jack changed their minds about marriage equality. Instead of getting to know characters on television, we can get to know the people who live in our communities – our neighbors. Since my LGBTQ&A feature has been popular, it seems like a good fit to at least start this dialogue.

This is a critical time in our region. We have obtained our only rights as a community through the courts, not our State Legislature. The rising rallying cry of “religious liberty” is a good fit for neighbors who (like us) are living under the shadow of economic, environmental, education and healthcare struggles. The best way to push back is let them into our real lives, not just the aspects they see in mass media. We can’t control mass media, but we can control community art and invest the resources to make sure it is reflective of our real lives. I suspect that a blogger has a unique slant on this intersection of history, documentary and activism. And art, of course.

I’m very honored that Most Wanted Fine Art agreed with me and invited me to join their Artists in Residence.

Most Wanted Fine Art is a community service organization disguised as an art gallery. S) feel overwhelmed by ince opening in 2007, this gallery, studio, and performance space has exhibited over 40,000 works of art and represented around 150+ artists a year. In conjunction with Goodwill of Southwestern PA MWFA provides general contracting training to young men recently released from prison. They earn a wage while learning a trade. MWFA builds homes and community everyday.

MWFA consists of a 20ft x45ft main floor gallery space with stage. This space is often used for classes and musical performances. MWFA has transformed the basement of the gallery into a 15ft x20ft screen print shop and a 25ftx15ft installation gallery.

More details forthcoming. This weekend I’m off to a bawdy cabaret and then the symphony as the guests of Brad and George Takei. I just had to throw that in to bolster my artist credentials. Woo hoo! It is going to be an interesting year.

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