Spectra showcase to highlight art from LGBTQ+ youth

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In honor of Pride Month in June, social impact marketing firm TGW (This Good World) Studio is calling for submissions for its annual Spectra showcase. The event celebrates the voices and artistic talents of Rochester’s LGBTQ+ youth with a public art show.

“Last year, we held our first-ever Spectra showcase and it was an amazing experience and an honor to host and organize,” says Courtney Brown, TGW Studio creative director. “We wanted to kick off Pride Month by celebrating the future of our community and show LGBTQ+ youth that we care about their voices and their experiences.” 

While TGW Studio welcomes all mediums and subject matter, pieces that explore topics such as gender, sexual orientation and identity are highly encouraged and digital works must have a physical presence.

Set for June 2 at TGW Studios, the Spectra Showcase will also serve as a fundraiser for the Center for Youth, which supports LGBTQ+ and other youth in need of housing and other resources. In 2022, the event raised over $2,000 from donations from attendees. (Submissions to the event, which can be made online, are due by May 25 and must be from artists 21 years old or younger.)

A recent report by the Trevor Project found that 28 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability at some point in their lives with over half reporting that they ran away from home because of mistreatment or fear of mistreatment due to their identity.

“LGBTQ+ people of all ages have always existed and will forever continue to exist,” says TGW designer Lily Garnaat. “To be queer is to address that there is more to your being than what you were taught.

“Safe creative spaces allow marginalized communities, like the queer community, to explore their complex selves and to embrace what we may have learned to hide in fear of rejection. Young people deserve to be celebrated and encouraged to keep going, so they can become confident community members and changemakers in years to come.”

TGW Studios is LGBTQ+/non-binary/woman-owned and operated and a Certified B Corporation, which measures a company’s social, environmental, and community impact. It has worked with the Equal Rights Heritage Center, Trillium, and on the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial anniversary. The Spectra Showcase is one of the ways the studio supports the Rochester community.

“In recent years especially, there’s been a lot of discouraging discussion and legislation determining how the LGBTQ+ community and minors intersect. With queerness being seemingly synonymous with explicitness, this leaves LGBTQ+ kids and teens to sit with the apparent message that their very existence is inappropriate,” says Brown. “At TGW, we wanted to be sure to provide a place where that shame can be shed, and the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth can be amplified and respected.”

Beyond creating a safe creative space and fundraising, the Spectra showcase also includes other activities such as postcard design and letter writing to show support for LGBTQ youths.

Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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