“LGBTQ: Rights and Justice”

By Laura Latzko, April 2017 Issue.

The fight for rights within the LGBTQ community has not been confined to such places as California and New York.

Arizona’s part of that history is now on display as part of “LGBTQ: Rights & Justice, An Alwun House Foundation Exhibit” from March 27 to April 22 at Burton Barr Central Library’s North Gallery (second floor).

The exhibit explores the continuing struggle for the Arizona LGBTQ community to gain equal rights.

According to Kim Moody, exhibit co-coordinator, the display is meant to not only educate people about LGBTQ history but inspire them want to get involved.

“You are part of a history and you are the next step,” said Moody, also the founder of the Alwun House art gallery. “What are you doing? Because it’s not over.”

Through art, Moody said he show will engage people with Arizona’s LGBTQ rights history.

Image courtesy of alwunhouse.org/lgbtq.

“This is going to be a remarkable opportunity to really, in a personal way, get familiar with that history. It’s not something that you’re going to have to read. It’s not going to be a documentary you see on Channel 8,” Moody said. “It’s live. It’s us. It’s our community.”

Allied and LGBTQ artists submitted paintings, sculptures and other mediums of artwork for the juried exhibition.

Three jurors – artist Annie Lopez, art history professor and private art consultant Ted Decker and FOUND: RE Phoenix’s cultural curator Mike Oleskow –  decided on the artwork for the show.

Along with art, the display will feature personal photos contributed by community members, which will including images of weddings, families, protests, pride celebrations and personal achievements.

The incorporation of personal images, Moody said, allows the community get involved and share their stories.

Fliers, newspaper and magazine articles and artifacts from the Bj Bud Memorial Archives and other artifacts sponsored by Arizona State University’s Hayden Library Arizona Collection will also be displayed as part of the exhibition.

According to Lee Franklin, Phoenix Public Library community relations manager, the downtown library offers a space to expand on concepts such as the history of LGBTQ rights.

“We can take a theme like this, and we can really go in depth and explore it and bring a lot of elements of the community into it,” Franklin said.

Through complex exhibitions, Franklin said the library tries to educate by engaging in conversations and giving various groups an opportunity to be heard.

“Our mission is to connect people with information and knowledge, and to make sure voices across our community have a platform in which to be heard,” Franklin said.

In the past, the library has featured other LGBTQ-themed exhibits, including a western history/gay rodeo display and a traveling holocaust exhibition with a section on the Nazi treatment of LGBTQ people.

Additionally, the library recently hosted a series of drawings from LGBTQ writer Maurice Sendak, best known for the children’s book Where the Wild Things Are.

According to Luis Alonzo, a library assistant in the adult services section, the library staff is continually making efforts to showcase diverse groups by highlighting them with its programming.

“I’m really hoping that people will realize we are here for them,” Alonzo said. “We’re happy to be supported by the community, and in turn, we want to show support as well.”

Mark Your Calendar

The exhibit will also be accompanied by an events series in the library’s Pulliam Auditorium that further explores the concept of LGBTQ rights throughout history.

A poetry and open mic night, sponsored by the Arizona Consortium for the Arts, will kick off the series of events from 2 to 3 p.m. March 25.

Panelists, including Moody, Arizona’s Hip Historian Marshall Shore, Ron Wilcox from Nu Towne Saloon and former Miss IGRA and Miss AGRA Scott Tickler, will discuss achievements and other memorable events in Arizona’s history as part of a symposium from 6 to 8 p.m. April 4.

A screening of Upstairs Inferno, a documentary about a 1973 gay bar arson in New Orleans that killed 32 people, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. April 5. The film will be followed by a Q&A with director Robert Camina and Skip Bailey, an artist whose uncle died during the 1973 attack.

A First Friday reception, from 6 to 8 p.m. April 7, will feature performances by the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus adult and youth choirs and a resource fair with LGBTQ rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the LGBTQ Consortium, Trans Queer Pueblo and Native Health.

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