Pontiac gallery to feature LGBTQA artists

In the world of art, talent is talent; and, that’s all that matters--regardless of the creator behind the artwork.

That is the driving message behind the Pontiac Creative Arts Center’s (PCAC) call for artwork submission, to be showcased at Pontiac Pride: Kaleidoscope of Expression, the first-ever exhibition of LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, and Allies) artists and designers.

"In my world, it’s always about who you are as an artist; and, everything else has nothing to do with your art,” says exhibit curator and PCAC board member Patrizia Makohon. “You are who are, you love who you love. You produce beautiful art, or you produce crappy art. It's pretty simple."

The event is the brainchild of exhibit chair and PCAC board member Ronnie Karpinski, who says he was inspired to do something for the LGBTQA community in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a pivotal event that led to the gay liberation movement.

"One day, I just realized we have never done any type of exhibit featuring LGBTQA artists,” says Karpinski. He hopes the exhibit will serve as one of many efforts to “connect the Art Center with Pontiac; but, also, the universities and colleges around here, as well as the state of Michigan.”

Set to open on October 12, the exhibit is presented by the PCAC in partnership with the Oakland University/Pontiac Initiative; and, aims to celebrate LGBTQA artists’ artwork, music, spoken word performances; and, historical reflections on LGBTQA Pride.

"It's an incredibly deep, talented pool of artists, and it’s a group that’s not really represented in an art exhibit that celebrates who they are and their talents,” says Makohon. “

A major theme, both in the call for artwork submission and the exhibit itself, is the emphasis on Inclusion.

“We want everyone to be comfortable submitting,” says Karpinski. "We're also hoping that maybe some of the folks that submit their art will come back and do their own exhibit here.”

The exhibit co-chairs say they’ve received artwork in various mediums, including photography, sculptures, crafts, woodworking, furniture, paintings, drawings and more. Exhibit goers of all ages will be welcome; and, can expect to experience traditional wall pieces, as well as showcases and pedestals on display throughout the gallery floor.

"When people come to art galleries, they tend to bring their friends and their family,” says Makohon. “It’s going to be really exciting for us to see the community support, and support of the artists.”

And if you just so happen to come across a piece you just can’t live without, you may not have to, as all featured artists are highly encouraged to offer their work for sale.

Through the exhibit, PCAC seeks to form a partnership between the LGBTQA community at OU, through the university’s Gender & Sexuality Center, and the LGBTQA community in Pontiac, through a committee of involved community members.

"I think Pontiac represents a pretty substantial LGBTQA community, as well as the surrounding community as well," says Karpinski. "Our downtown is very welcoming; and, we’re trying to make the Art Center a very welcoming space as well."

In addition to grant funding received through the OU/Pontiac Initiative, in the amount of $1,900, the PCAC has raised an additional $600. Beyond funding, the exhibit co-chairs say they’ve received donations and volunteer work from the Pontiac community and residents from across the state of Michigan to friends in California and Florida.

"I think it’s going to be exciting to see all that support in our gallery space on October 12,” says Karpinski. “And I think it will be really exciting to see what relationships are created in that space."

Deadline: 9/15/2019 (Selected artists will be announced on 9/22/19.)
Submissions: Artwork may include artwork, music, spoken word performances, and historical reflections on LGBTQA Pride.
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Exhibition Awards:
1st Place: $200
2nd Place: $100
3rd Place: $75
Contact Information:
Ronnie Karpinski, Exhibit Chair
Call: (248) 520-3136
Email: Ronald.karpinski@gmail.com