An area of expression for queer artists and advocates the First Annual Queer Arts and Film Festival hopes to provide a space for queer identity inspired art and create a better sense of empathy for the lives of queer students.
The art gallery, located in the Stevenson Union (SU) 3rd Floor Gallery, has been open to viewers since early February, and will culminate Friday the fourth with the queer arts film festival in the divergence room of the SU 11am – 5pm.
“I wanted to give queer students a platform to voice their creative works through art and a place for other people to express how they see queer identities,” said event organizer and Queer Resource Center (QRC) staffer Jordan Land. “There was an underplayed message to the gallery… that the queer experience is more than just rainbows, which are all good but this is about recognizing intersectionality, that having a queer identity is not always a happy fun time and raising awareness to those issues and struggles. But on the same turn there is celebration to be had here, there is happiness and self esteem to be gained from these works,” Land continued.
The art gallery itself has a large diversity in student exhibits. From photos of individuals and paintings, to full sized mannequins and artistically redone doors. Subjects range from taking pride in your identity, critiques on the representations of queer people in the media, to powerful expressions of the challenges that come with belonging to an often oppressed group. The gallery is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM is free to visitors, and will be open for the remainder of winter term at the least.
“I really tried to let people feel like they could go wild with whatever they contributed and everyone came through with really expressing themselves,” said Land.
Time permitting the movie marathon on Friday will feature between 5-7 short films and movies. The viewing will also be accompanied by thought provoking conversation about the films themselves, as well as issues regarding the queer community. The films were chosen by members of the QRC who wanted to show the very diverse aspects of the queer community.
“We wanted to feature all these other identities, we have films focusing on lesbians, international policies, a documentary on stereotypes and representations in media. We tried to hit all these different notes that exemplify how broad the spectrum of queer identities are,” said Land. While the Siskiyou cannot yet print the movies that will be shown, the full list will be available in the QRC room later this week
The future of the Queer Arts and Film Festival remains hazy due to a cancellation of funding to the art gallery in the SU, but Land remains optimistic. “The SU gallery has not received funding for next year so my goal as a returning staffer is to get to work early and hard on securing a gallery space if not on campus then maybe off campus to keep it going,” Land said.