The University of Connecticut’s Rainbow Center hosted their annual Art Gala on Wednesday, Oct. 20. The organization serves as a resource for those interested in learning about the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as a safe haven for those who exist within it.
Hosted during LGBTQIA+ History Month, Public Relations and Social Media Team Leader Kallan Doyon wanted this event to celebrate LGBTQIA+ artists on campus.
“Art is really an important part of how people express themselves and we feel that highlighting the marginalized communities that call this place a home and a safe space,” Doyon said. “Giving them an area for their art to really be shown off is a great way to kind of bring our community together and give a voice to the people that come in here.”
Presented in the Rainbow Center’s program room, artists displayed their art in several different mediums, including digital, collage, paint, as well as pencil drawings and poems.
Through their Instagram, the Rainbow Center posted a virtual form for students to decide whether or not they would contribute to the exhibit. A total of 18 submissions were received.
“Not all of them ended up actually getting here, which is okay, we know things happen.” Doyon said. “But we do have a very wide range of pieces that are here so it’s exciting to see.”
Wren Halpern, a fifth-semester digital media & design major, talks about their piece, “In That Home By and By” and why they decided to submit.
“[In That Home By and By] is a lyric from a song. I really like connecting songs with my art and there are certain songs that I listen to while drawing.” Halpern said. “I submitted my piece because I just really, really love sharing my art and getting to see other people’s art. I think that part is one of my favorite parts of being an artist, because I love getting to see other people’s creativity.”
Rebecca Kalapala, a fifth-semester management information systems student, decided to present her digital art at the gala, despite just being an ally.
“I think it’s like, it’s important for allies to uplift like queer people and in this case, queer artists without taking over for them or like infiltrating their spaces.” Kalapala said. “So when they gave the option for featured artists, I’m like, no, this is a queer space. It should go to a queer artist. So I did not.”
Also, along with the annual drag show event that happens every Spring semester, the center is also planning a new event that is yet to be revealed.
“I cannot give a ton of detail [on the event] currently, but the PR Team is starting a new event that hopefully will highlight other forms of art that can’t be held on a wall.” Doyon said.