A student-run magazine and a performing arts group are part of an ongoing arts initiative that has taken place within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community this semester.
“The LGBT community and the arts community have a strong affinity,” LGBT Center Director Bob Schoenberg said. “LGBT students have been involved in most performing arts and creative arts groups on campus.”
On Thursday, the LGBT Colors Project released its first-ever edition. The Project is a magazine that looks “to create a space where queer people of color [can] come together in words, ideas and images,” College junior and Editor-in-Chief Antuan Johnson, a former Daily Pennsylvanian copy assistant, said.
According to the LGBT Center’s website, the magazine is the first LGBT publication on Penn’s campus, as well as “the first publication dedicated to the interests of queer people of color in the Ivy League.”
The inaugural edition of the LGBT Colors Project featured 20 different student submissions. It will circulate 500 copies across campus.
“Some of the articles discuss the coming-out experience and certain gender norms … while some discuss racism and growing up and learning to live with a racist society,” Johnson said, noting that students did not have to identify as LGBT or be people of color to submit to the Project.
The Project “tries to understand how we are all connected,” Johnson added.
LGBT involvement in the arts, however, extends beyond the written word.
This evening, the LGBT community will add to its arts initiative with a performance of “The Gay Agenda,” the new show of Uniting LGBTQPenn through Radical Art, or PennULTRA.
PennULTRA’s show will serve as “a great way to start dialogue and discuss issues that may be affecting us,” said College sophomore Noah Levine, one of the founding members of PennULTRA.
“The arts in general, whether they are spoken word or visual arts, have always been ways for people to express their emotions, as well as their thoughts and beliefs,” he added.
The show will be held at the Platt Student Performing Arts House at 7 p.m.
Performing together in the show is a way to “create unity” in a way that is different from holding social events or throwing parties, Levine said.
However, the show is not just a way to bond within the LGBT community.
“It’s always valuable to have an opportunity to interact directly with the artist,” Levine said, adding that it doesn’t matter what form the art or performance takes.
Since art — whether in the form of poetry, painting or performance — tends to create a dialogue, “it can be very high impact and get people thinking,” Levine said.
This is one of the reasons why Schoenberg and his staff at the LGBT Center have paid close attention to the paintings, pictures and posters that line the walls of the center.
“People who are in the space and using the space … can see what is hanging on our walls and learn from them,” Schoenberg said.
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