LGBTQ artists in Lake Worth Beach

LAKE WORTH BEACH – The Being Heard, Being Seen art exhibit, a celebration of self-identity and expression of local LGBTQ+-identifying artists, is on view through April 9 at the Palm Beach County Council of Culture.

A 7-foot figure with masks, interactive poetry, and paintings covered in glossy, smooth resin is part of the exhibit, which explores the rights, representation, and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The goal of this exhibition is to encourage everyone to be their authentic selves, to engage in understanding, compassion and meaningful conversations, and to create a safe space where everyone feels heard and seen for who they are – without questions or compromises. When we do that, we create space for real impact,” said Dave Lawrence, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cultural Council.

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Sculpture by Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti, center, at the ÒBeing Heard, Being SeenÓ art exhibit by local LGBTQ+ identifying artists at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County in downtown Lake Worth Beach, Fla. on Wednesday, March 16, 2020. March 2022.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the artwork, said Jessica Ransom, Director of Artist Services. Loneliness, kindness and people masking their feelings during the outbreak are vividly shown in the artworks, she said.

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

Sculptures by Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti im "Be heard, be seen" Art exhibit by local LGBTQ+ identifying artists at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council Wednesday in downtown Lake Worth Beach.

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

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

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

The colors do not match the expressions. An anxious face is painted bright orange and signifies happiness. A grinning face with raised eyebrows is grayish and reflects sadness.

"Mother Earth 2021" by Dariel B. Donovan hangs at the “Being Heard, Being Seen” art exhibit by local LGBTQ+ identifying artists at the Palm Beach County Council of Culture in downtown Lake Worth Beach, Florida on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

“This is where the mask comes in. Many of us wore masks to the world during the pandemic and hid our true feelings,” Ransom said.

For acrylic-on-paper artist Kingsley Ratcliff, her art is a relief from the anger she harbors over issues like abortion access restrictions and the state so-called Don’t Say Gay Bill.

Using the pink, light blue, and white colors of the transgender flag, Ratcliff’s art includes paintings with slogans such as “You Have No Right To My Body” and “We Existed Before You Made Slurs For Us.”

“I made them when I was very angry. If you listen to my voice, you will see my art,” Ratcliff said.

Kathy Cotter’s artwork consists of paintings of people’s lower legs in various positions.

“I want viewers to be able to imagine what these people are like without seeing their whole body. This is not gay art. This is good art by gay artists,” said Cotter, who used to run a restaurant in Cape Cod, Mass.

Sculpture by Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti at the "Be heard, be seen" Art exhibit by local LGBTQ+ identifying artists at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council Wednesday in downtown Lake Worth Beach.

The largest work is the masked 7-foot figure wearing chicken wire, aluminum foil, and black canvas high heels. The figure of Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti holds up a basket full of colorful masks.

“It shows that we’re protecting each other during the pandemic,” Ransom said.

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

when you go

  • WHO: Cultural Council for Palm Beach County
  • What: Being Heard, Being Seen exhibition of LGBTQ+ art
  • When: Until Friday, April 9, Tuesday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m
  • Where from: Palm Beach County Cultural Council, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth Beach
  • Costs: For free
  • Information: palmbeachculture.com/exhibitions

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