A group art exhibition happening at Powell River Public Art Gallery running until July 25 showcases LGBTQ2+ artists and allied artists. Organizer and guest curator Giovanni Spezzacatena had the idea for the event, What the Plus (+), almost a year ago, realizing it would be the first of its kind in Powell River.
“We had a bit of a quieter opening on [June] 20th with everything going on, but things are going really well,” said Spezzacatena. “I was surprised with the quality and range of the work. We’ve got someone as young as 12 all the way up to 65-plus.”
All 17 artists represented are from Powell River, including Spezzacatena, who has three pieces on display. For a few of the artists this is the first exhibition to showcase their work.
Some of the pieces on display include colour and black and white photography, mixed media work, textile/fibre arts and illustration. Local artists were asked to submit original works that evoke the concept of “gradient.”
“The exhibition title focuses on the ‘+’ itself, as it indicates a range or ‘gradient,’” said Spezzacatena. “While much of the art is not overtly political in content, the context for the exhibition represents an act of courage, generosity and openness, and is quite ‘political’ in itself.”
Along with the exhibition there will be an online event, to add context to the show, happening at 7 pm on Friday, July 17.
Originally to be one of two talks before COVID-19 caused some challenges, “Theyday” will be a short online talk/discussion led by local author and guest speaker Andrea Bennett.
“The talk was specifically meant to address questions around acronyms, initialisms and pronouns used within the queer community and beyond,” said Spezzacatena. “It is meant as a lighthearted but informative look at many of the terms, pronouns, acronyms used and more importantly why they are used.”
Audience members are encouraged to send their comments or questions ahead of the event to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of the topics being covered include: umbrella terms as spaces of comfort; umbrella terms as ways to find friends and chosen families; what non-queer people can learn from the spaces queer people have opened up; and what the + stands for in LGBTQ2+.
Afterward, there will be a question and answer period with local author Nola Poirier. For those unable to participate, the Zoom event will be recorded and posted to the website, whattheplus.ca, for viewing at a later date.
The gallery is open from 12 to 5 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6975 Alberni Street, Suite 215. The exhibition, which is timed with other Pride events around the world, was made possible by funding from qathet Community Justice.
Those wishing to view the artists featured at the gallery can go to whattheplus.wordpress.com/artist-galleries.