Art for Life: An Event, An Experience, A Sanctuary

Lauren Sega Lauren SegaArt for Life: An Event, An Experience, A SanctuaryPhoto via Facebook.
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Until recent day, and in some places still, members of the LGBTQ+ community have long dealt with hate, prejudice and discrimination. Looking through an intersectional lens, it’s safe to say that the struggles that cis, white individuals within the community have seen improve or disappear still exist, and can even be magnified, when factors like race and country of origin are considered. There’s still a long way to go.
For sanctuary, many LGBTQ+ folks have turned to the arts community, a seemingly natural hotbed for free thinking, open-mindedness and acceptance. Locally, this organic connection has been formalized, manifesting in the biennial Art for Life event created by Equitas Health.
First executed in 1989, at the height of the HIV/AIDs epidemic, Art for Life’s gala brought together partners from the arts community to raise money and awareness.
“The way it originally started was the AIDs epidemic was taking a lot of lives, specifically in direct correlation with the arts community,” said Heather Llewellyn, Development and Special Events Manager for Equitas Health. “So, artists got together and said ‘You know, we don’t have a lot of money, but we can donate art.’ And then the philanthropic side said ‘We can purchase the art.’”

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