LONG BEACH — An art festival featuring 22 artists who highlight the broad cultural achievements of the queer community will be on display this weekend.
“Out Loud: A Cultural Evolution” will take place at the Art Theatre of Long Beach on Saturday from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
The queer art event is free and open to the public.
After the event, a reception, catered by Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, will follow from 4 to 6 p.m. at The Long Beach LGBTQ Center.
“Out Loud” will showcase eight poets, 14 artists representing a variety of mediums, a short film clip, a brief queer cultural commentary, and an awards ceremony. Plans are already in the works for an “Out Loud” arts festival next year.
In an interview with Q Voice News, Long Beach resident and Out Loud founder Dave Russo, 62, talks about creating the queer arts festival, the art that will be on display, and using art as a bridge to understanding.
Here are some excerpts.
Queer art platform
“Just as it’s important to march in the streets and celebrate with parades, it’s equally as necessary to provide platforms for those who have been outcast to raise their voices through art,” Russo says. “Personal storytelling is a profound way to combat bigotry and hatred.”
Art bridges understanding
“We want people to know us through the arts,” Russo says. “It’s hard to hate people whose acting you enjoy, whose music you love. It’s harder to marginalize them.
“We are trying to create understanding between the heterosexual community and the queer community by examining the cultural contributions we make to the arts,” he says.
“The work in the show needs to reflect our community or the artist needs to be from our community. It’s work as seen through the eyes of a gay artist,” Russo says.
“The work speaks to the outsider, marginalized, and queer community.”
Ron Kibble’s political art
“Ron’s art is a direct expression about sexual politics,” Russo says. “Most of his work is not considered erotic. It’s bold representations of same sex relations, and how sometimes just the fact that men have sex with men and women have sex with woman is political.
“It’s meant to be defiant,” he says. “Instead of a subtly message, his art hits you in the face with a boxing glove. His art reminds me of Basquiat.”
More queer art
“The artists range from people who work within the system to people who are outrageous,” Russo says. “We have a nature photographer, a guy hanging a quilt, and a bead artist.
“This is an experiment. We will see how people respond to it,” he says. “We might be more bold next time.”