On Sunday, dozens of LGBTQ people attended Hyde Park Art Center’s (HPAC) first-ever ‘Art of Pride’ event, with music, drag performers, arts and crafts for sale and outreach activities of local health and social service organizations.
“We’ve been supporting the queer community for a while now, but we really wanted to do it in a way that was more open to the public and really supportive of all the artists we work with,” said Ciera Mckissick, public programs manager at the HPAC.
Mckissick said the center helps fund artist-run spaces, many of which recommend vendors and artists for the event. Many Featured Artists and Organizations of 2020 Artists Run Chicago 2.0 Exhibitionincluding Ohklahomo and TRQPITECApresented at the Art of Pride.
Jacquelyn Guerrero, HPAC Finance and Operations Coordinator, is part of TRQPITECA as DJ CQQCHIFRUIT. They said HPAC intended to hold a Pride event before the pandemic and noted how mainstream events have become.
“We really wanted to bring the art community into it, with the performance art, and to save money with the vendors,” they said.
Mckissick highlighted the role of artists as truth-tellers and vanguards in society, who create conversations about conversations that might otherwise go unsaid. She said that art and homosexuality were in the same vein.
“There are so many queer people who are artists and also having these similar conversations, and just bringing things to the fore. And that’s basically what we’re trying to do here that we have,” he said. she declared.
“We have a really poignant exhibit from Stan Shellabarger and Dutes Miller talking about queer love and longevity, the mundanity of being in a relationship for a long time, and what it means to live and work and do things together. And I think we celebrate that too, just like a community – how we can come together and create something beautiful and present it to the public for a good cause.”
The exhibition, “Love Repeats Itself” is running until September 3. It shows the two men as silhouettes in a variety of poses, expressing bodies and the human condition through an eerie lens. The art is projected onto the exterior of HPAC, 5020 S. Cornell Ave.
Guerrero said conversations have taken place about the content of the exhibits and what it means to celebrate and elevate same-sex relationships in a public, family-oriented and outward-looking space. National controversies over LGBTQ visibility and legal and legislative struggles over LGBTQ rights are front and center.
Mckissick noted the desire to center Black and Latino spaces at the Art of Pride event – the Brave Space Alliance, the LGBTQ community center run by black trans people in Hyde Park, 1515 E. 52nd Place, had a table. Both noted that the HPAC actively solicits feedback and criticism on its own engagement efforts and programs.