Rainbow Center art gala focuses on intersectionality

 The Rainbow Center hosts numerous artists in an art gallery displayed on the fourth floor of the Student Union. The art ranges from paintings to sculptures to mobiles holding polaroids. (The Daily Campus)

The Rainbow Center hosts numerous artists in an art gallery displayed on the fourth floor of the Student Union. The art ranges from paintings to sculptures to mobiles holding polaroids. (The Daily Campus)

The back room of the Rainbow Center was illuminated by twinkle lights on Monday night, giving ambiance to the small art gala they were holding. Facilitated by Rainbow Center staff members Jay Knox, an eighth semester Allied Health student, and Will Rios, an eighth semester Digital Media and Design student, a number of pieces from the Rainbow Center community were featured to showcase intersectionality, the theme of this year’s gala.

The Rainbow Center Art Gala is an annual event, but this was the first year multiple artists were featured; in the past, a single artist was selected, and a number of their works were displayed. This year, in line with the theme of intersectionality, the facilitators decided to go a different way.

In addition, the facilitators created a piece for the event, a large white banner with a variety of handprints in different colors.

“We wanted to showcase inclusivity and diversity within the Rainbow Center,” Rios said. “It’s not just sexuality that matters, but ethnicity and race and other things, too.”

Rios and Knox both had work in the Gala. Knox had several poems, a sketch, a photograph, a small sculpture and several paintings.

Rios had several paintings, small 3D sculpture pieces and a large mobile with small photos hanging from it.

They were joined in the show by artists such as Lucas Larcheveque, Megan O’Connor, Pat Bingham, Zane Carey and sixth-semester Psychology student Hannah Meyers.

“I’ve never put artwork out, so putting artwork in a space where I feel safe and comfortable is a good way to start,” Meyers said.

The show featured a number of Meyers’s paintings, which had bright colors—often words—and were sometimes multimedia. Several of these paintings featured women’s bodies and had female themes.

“I really like Hannah’s piece with the Bi Pride Flag,” Graduate Assistant Julia Anderson said. “It’s talking about various identities within the bi community and the fluidity of the bi community.”

Knox also mentioned one of Meyer’s pieces that read “Woman as Fuck.”

“It’s raunchy and it’s in your face about it,” Knox said.

With the overarching theme of intersectionality, some of the pieces, such as Meyers’, focused just on gender and sexuality. Carey also had pieces that addressed these themes more clearly, with one piece reading “Protect our Pack, some exclusions may apply” pieced together with slips of paper that read, “my pronouns,” and a second which prominently featured the transgender symbol.

Other pieces were less immediately focused on these themes but featured a tree or a landscape, which may have had a more hidden theme or something more personal to the artist.

“Intersection theory is about the power of different identities,” Anderson said. “For this specific display, the goal is for people to demonstrate their idea of power through their various identities.”


Alex Houdeshell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.houdeshell@uconn.edu.