Special to The City Sentinel
Driving near NW 12 and N. Western on the evening of June 4, one might have understandably thought a rock star was in town. Hundreds of people filled Istvan Gallery at Urban Art, 1218 N. Western, and spilled into the parking lot and onto the sidewalks. It wasn’t a rock star that drew a crowd of over 700 people. It was Cimarron Alliance’s Pride in Art II.
This one-night-only art show and sale was the kick-off to LGBT Pride Month in Oklahoma City. If the crowd at this event was any indication, June will be bursting with pride all month long.
Following the tremendous success of Pride in Art last year, Cimarron Alliance, Oklahoma’s LGBT advocacy and education organization, hosted this encore event to celebrate the vast contributions of gay and gay-supportive artists to Oklahoma’s burgeoning art scene.
According to J.B. Schuelein, chair of the event, all of the artists whose work was featured are gay or allies to the gay community. What’s more, each artist was from Oklahoma or has an Oklahoma connection.
“Many people have contributed to the extraordinary growth of the art scene here,” said Schuelein. “And many of those are lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender Oklahomans. This is our way of thanking them for their contributions and to celebrate their talent.”
He went on to say that proceeds from the art sold during the event were shared between the local artists and Cimarron Alliance.
Over half of the guests at Pride in Art were sporting t-shirts that said “…And I’m a Gay Oklahoman” or “…And I love a Gay Oklahoman.” According to Scott J. Hamilton, Cimarron’s executive director, the t-shirts are a part of the organizations just-launched multimedia public awareness campaign.
“Our goal of the campaign is to demonstrate to Mr. and Mrs. Oklahoma that gay folks are an integral to the very fabric of our society. We want to them to see us and to understand that we are their lawyers, mail carriers, ministers, pharmacists. We are the people who cut their grass, teach their children, and repair their cars. We are everywhere in Oklahoma and we are just like everyone else,” said Hamilton.
The t-shirts, he explained, range in size from small to XXXXXL. “We’re not all thin with a solid six-pack,” laughed Hamilton as he rubbed his ample belly. “We come in all shapes and sizes and we want to be visible in all of our diversity,” he said.
For more information about Cimarron Alliance, visit cimarronalliance.org, or call 405-495-9300.