“Art by LGBTQ+ artists is one of the few unfiltered creative expressions that finds its source in self, relationships and community,” said The Studio Door gallery owner Patric Stillman. “It’s gift to the viewer is direct communication from an individual who sparkles in complexity like a diamond. A very personal dialogue between artist and viewer is created that often explores ideas that may be challenging to express in a verbal conversation.
When I opened The Studio Door, I knew that I wanted to include the opportunity for my community to showcase their artistry alongside of their contemporaries. More importantly, I saw a need for national opportunities for LGBTQ+ artists to be seen and to share how they present themselves to the world.”
This time of year, our community’s artists can be seen in a variety of art exhibits in conjunction with PRIDE including Art of Pride’s art village during San Diego’s Pride Festival and at established galleries like Sparks Gallery downtown. Stillman sees The Studio Door’s PROUD+ visual arts exhibition as something different among these celebrations. With each exhibition since it started in 2017, the gallery is developing a multi-year portrait of the community’s struggles for representation through a growing collection of exhibition catalogs. These catalogs are available to virtually flip through on their website.
“I have often wondered with the great diversity among us what connects us, other than being classified as not “straight”. Being so close to the participating artists and their works over the years, I have begun to understand the profound sameness that we feel being ostracized from both hetero and homonormative culture, the complexity of expressing our intimacy and the fluidity of self-understanding.”
Stillman believes that everyone who experiences the exhibit will walk away with a feeling of connection.
This year’s exhibit was curated with the support of Alyssa Nitchun, Executive Director of The Leslie Lohman Museum of Art (NYC). The Museum is the only dedicated LGBTQ+ art museum in the world with a mission to exhibit and preserve LGBTQ+ art and foster the artists who create it. In prior years, the gallery has collaborated with ONE Archives at USC Libraries (Los Angeles, CA), Stonewall National Museum and Archives (Fort Launderdale/ Wilton Manors, FL), and Visual AIDS (NYC). Each organization is committed to documenting LGBTQ+ history, culture and arts.
The exhibition will continue to run through July 30, 2022, with an artist reception on Saturday, July 2nd from 6 – 9 PM. It will also hold a special evening in conjunction with Hillcrest Business Association’s monthly Walk in Art in Mural Alley, directly behind the gallery, on Thursday, July 7 from 6 – 9 PM. The exhibition is free to the public.
The Studio Door gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from Noon to 7 PM. Recently, the gallery has also introduced additional hours Sunday and Monday from Noon to 4 PM with Metalsmith Matthew Cirello. The gallery is located at 3867 4th Avenue around the corner from the Hillcrest sign.
This year’s exhibition includes over 60 artworks presented from artists working in 13 U.S. States, including:
Joseph Abbati, Brock Archer, Brandin Barón, Chad Berwald, Nathaniel Bice, Laicee Blackwell, Pierre Bounaud, John Breitweiser, Nathan Carroll, Maurice Cassidy, Lance Chang, Jacob Clayton, Ariel Cooper, Joan Cox, Roy de Vries. Yvette Deas, Darren Domingo, David Dumo, Stevan Dupus, Brett Dyer, Nicholas Ebakidze, Matthew Finley, C Fodoreanu, Irwin Freeman, Colette Hebert, Gerard Huber, Dean Jester, Nikki Kelsay, Tali Lopez, Sooltan Madsen, Michael McFadden, Todd Muffatti, MisterOsborne, Richard Poulin, Danne Sadler, Dan Simoneau, Smittybones, Syd Stevens, Teemstir, Minnie Valero, Tim Weedlun, Alisa White, Danielle Wogulis, Hugo Ximello-Salido and Paul F. Yount.
Alyssa Nitchun selected three artworks of exceptional quality, including Self Portrait- How Many Fifths of a Man Am I? By Jacob Clayton (Rockport, ME) who identifies as Transgender; Dating in COVID by Alisa White (Greenbelt, MD) who identifies as Queer; and Ambassadors by local artist Yvette Deas who identifies as Lesbian. These works can be seen in the gallery along with The Studio Door’s pick for featured artist Stefan Talian [Editors note: Talian was featured last month in our Artist Profile series and can be read here].
Recognizing that limitations of gallery space and the costs of shipping across the country, The Studio Door includes an online portion of the exhibition which can be seen on the website as well as on monitors with the gallery during the exhibition. Online visitors will also be treated to two short videos by filmmakers Azi Nur (San Francisco, CA) who identifies as Lesbian and Edward Steffanni (Mechanicsburg, OH) who identifies as Gay.
Supporting The Arts
In addition to being on exhibit at the gallery, all the artwork this year is also available for sale. Stillman asks the community to consider buying art, which financially supports and emotionally encourages our brothers and sisters to continue to express their lives through their artwork.
“Visibility from the artists who live across the spectrum of our rainbow is so important! It inspires us. It gives us strength to be true to ourselves. It allows us to connect to each other. I hope that San Diego takes the time to stop by to see what our community has to say through the visual arts and walk away feeling a little bit closer.”