If I said queer art to you, would you have the image of an abstractly askew painting with the head of a body under its arm and a worm coming out of its eye? Or would you think of fabulous artwork done by even more fabulous queer artists? If you guessed the latter, you would be right. But where can you find the art of queer artists singled out? Here in Nashville, that’s where.

Named for the jumble of letters that make up the acronym GLBTQIA, Alphabet Art: A Juried Exhibition of Queer Artist is just that, an exhibition that seeks to showcase the lives, experiences, stories and dreams of our gloriously gay community, hosted by the Music City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Now in its fourth year, Alphabet Art has become a staple in the Music City Sisters’ fundraising and community outreach efforts. It was a lack of queer art that spurred Freudianschlip, an Angel in Waiting for the Music City Sisters of Indulgence, to conceive the event.  “In the first year of our order we were brainstorming on ideas for a uniquely 'Sister' event, something that had not been done in Nashville,” Freudianschlip explained. “At some point in the ongoing conversation a 'silent auction' was tossed out and my mind began to play out different ways to present artists’ works, but not devalue the work, as so often happens with the underbidding of silent auctions. After a few weeks of searching the web, I discovered there are no annual juried events showcasing queer artists. You can find the once in a while art show that is part of a pride week but nothing solely dedicated to presenting outstanding GLBTQIA artists and their works.”

And so, Alphabet Art: A Juried Exhibition of Queer Artist was born to the Music City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an international service society order who, in the tradition of generations of service orders like Catholic nuns, are dedicated to enhancing the city in which they live. 

“We conduct educational outreach on issues relevant to our community.  We assist in supporting charitable and social groups in Nashville.  But most importantly we offer people another perspective on what queer life can be, all while looking fabulous,” explained Freudianschlip,

The exhibition is an excellent opportunity for artists of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, inter-sexed, and allied community, to submit their original works of art for the world to see—or at least Nashville.   The event supports the Sisters' mission by showing the public another aspect of the GLBTQIA community.

This year’s call for artist submissions was open from April 4 through July 8. Artists, including Tom Brodhed and Chasen Igleheart, will unveil their work to public view and possibly receive an award while the viewing public has a chance to consider a new way of viewing GLBTQIA life.  The one-of-a-kind juried exhibit awards a $1000 cash prize divided between the top three entries.

Brodhed’s entry, entitled Liebestod from the German words for love and death, showcases Ernie and Bert. “When Ernie and Bert decided to commit suicide rather than join the Tea Party, an unfortunate requirement of their corporate jobs, the two lovers ascended into a realm of inchoate outlines of warm and cuddly plush toys that had once inhabited their respective bedrooms when they were young,” Brodhed explained. “And in being gay they had remained young at heart throughout their tortured years as actuaries for a multinational insurance firm.”

Alphabet Art's opening reception and award ceremony will take place September 6 from 6 - 9 p.m. and the exhibition will be available for public view on Wednesdays and Saturdays 8 through October 5, during the same times.

“Alphabet Art would not be possible without the generous contributions from our visionary patrons.  The monetary awards the Champions of the Exhibition receive is made up of the financial support our patrons provide.  The more patrons we have, the larger the awards,” hinted Freudianschlip.

So wherever you place yourself in the alphabet of life—no matter if you are a Queer artist, a Straight buyer, a Bisexual lover of art or a Transgender social butterfly looking for some culture, Alphabet Art offers a myriad of experiences when it opens at OutCentral.

For a full schedule of public viewings, visit outcentral.org. ‘Like’ the Music City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on Facebook to find out more about Alphabet Art, or check out their website.

credit: Thomas Broadhed’s Liebestod (acrylic and latex on canvas)





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