LGBTQ Artists Featured in Lake Worth Beach

LAKE WORTH BEACH — The “Be Heard, Be Seen” art exhibit, a celebration of identity and expression by local artists who identify as LGBTQ+, is on view through April 9 at the Council of Palm Beach County.

A 7-foot figure offering masks, interactive poetry, and paintings covered in shiny, smooth resin are part of the exhibit that explores the rights, representation, and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The purpose of this exhibition is to encourage everyone to be themselves, to stand up for understanding, compassion and meaningful conversations, and to create a safe space where everyone feels heard and seen for who they are, without question or compromise. When we do this, we make room for real impact,” said Dave Lawrence, President and CEO of the Cultural Council.

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Sculpture by Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti, center, at the ÒBeing Heard, Being SeenÓ art exhibit by local artists who identify as LGBTQ+ at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council in downtown Lake Worth Beach , in Florida, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

COVID-19 had a powerful influence on the artwork, said Jessica Ransom, director of artist services. Loneliness, kindness and people masking their feelings during the outbreak are clearly depicted in the artwork, she said.

“We have amazing artists in our community. They put their heart and being into their work,” Ransom said.

Sculptures by Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti at the "To be heard, to be seen" art exhibit by local artists who identify as LGBTQ+ at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council Wednesday in downtown Lake Worth Beach.

Viewers can interact with an exhibition of poetry by Stacie M. Kiner and her partner Dianna I. Rosenberg. After reading the poetry, viewers are invited to write and submit their reactions on sheets of paper.

“I want everyone to have their basic needs met,” one viewer wrote.

An exhibit by Rolando Chang Barrero, founder of the Box Gallery in West Palm Beach, is a series of acrylics showing approximately 50 faces lined up on the wall. Colourful, mysterious and expressive, they express joy, hope, surprise, love, sadness and fear.

The colors do not match the expressions. A fearful face is painted in bright orange evoking happiness. A smiling face with raised eyebrows is grayish, reflecting sadness.

"Mother Earth 2021" by Dariel B. Donovan hangs in the ÒBeing Heard, Being SeenÓ art exhibit by local artists who identify as LGBTQ+ at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council in downtown Lake Worth Beach, Florida on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

“That’s where the mask comes in. Many of us wore masks out into the world during the pandemic, hiding our true emotions,” Ransom said.

For acrylic-on-paper artist Kingsley Ratcliff, her art is a release from the anger she feels about issues such as abortion access restrictions and the so-called Don’t Say Gay Bill. of State.

Using the colors of the pink, light blue and white transgender flag, Ratcliff’s art includes paintings of slogans such as “You have no right to my body” and “We existed before you insulted us. “.

“I did this when I was very angry. If you’re going to listen to my voice, you’re going to see my art,” Ratcliff said.

Kathy Cotter’s work consists of paintings of the lower legs of people in different positions.

“I want viewers to imagine what these people look like without seeing their whole body. This is not gay art. This is good art from gay artists,” said Cotter, who previously operated a restaurant in Cape Cod, Mass.

Sculpture by Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti at the "To be heard, to be seen" art exhibit by local artists who identify as LGBTQ+ at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council Wednesday in downtown Lake Worth Beach.

The largest work is the 7-foot masked figure, who wears high heels made of chicken wire, aluminum foil and black canvas. The figure of Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti holds a basket filled with colorful masks.

“It shows we’re protecting ourselves during the pandemic,” Ransom said.

All works of art in the exhibition are for sale. Proceeds from artwork sales directly benefit local artists and support the council’s mission to develop arts and culture in Palm Beach County.

If you are going to

  • WHO: Palm Beach County Cultural Council
  • What: “Being Heard, Being Seen” exhibition of LGBTQ+ art
  • When: Until Friday April 9, Tuesday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Or: Palm Beach County Cultural Council, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth Beach
  • Cost: Free
  • Information: palmbeachculture.com/exhibitions

James C. Tibbs