Couldn’t make it to DC Health’s Sexual + Being art exhibition launch event? No worries. You only missed sex talk, sugar tits, and cocktails!
On Thursday July 19, 2018, DC locals, art buffs, and sexual beings alike joined DC Health at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design for our launch event. The event packed quite a punch: it was the debut of our sexualbeing.org website and the “Sexual + Being” art exhibit, as well as the official announcement of the winners of our art and spoken word competitions.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted with stickers, bags, and yummy hors d’oeuvres. Each sticker represented a different type of being, and guests were encouraged to wear the one (or ones!) that best described them.
Senior Deputy Director of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA), Michael Kharfen, opened the night with remarks on behalf of DC Health, affirming that sex is healthy, good, and a natural part of being. Kharfen’s remarks were followed by Corcoran School of the Arts and Design Director, Sanjit Sethi:
We really welcome our opportunities to support this campaign to serve communities with such diverse social, economic, cultural and gender-based backgrounds. What impresses me most about the Sexual + Beings campaign is the way it speaks to communities that are so often unseen, hidden, and overlooked.
– Sanjit Sethi
We also enlisted the help of WPGC’s own Sunni to emcee. She was an absolute vision in yellow and the perfect emcee – her sunny (get it?) smile and infectious positive energy filled the gallery!
Heading the judges’ table for the art competition were esteemed queer, nonbinary artists Eames Armstrong and Antonius Bui. Though all pieces were beautiful in their own way, a few stood out:
- Case Baumgarten’s Tierra’s Courage won first place,
- Alan Schmid’s How You See Me captured second place,
- and Quincy Mata’s Home took home third.
These artists captured the essence of sex positivity, forcing the audience to question and converse about why exactly this piece is the essence of a sexual being.
Next up were our spoken word winner Gaelyn Smith, and runner-up Shaquetta Nelson. Smith and Nelson captured the audience with commanding presences and powerful words.
Gaelyn proclaimed “Being sexy is beautiful and beauty is in the eye of the beholder” while Shaquetta professed “My pussy is powerful and personal.” *snaps all around*
In between the art viewing and the speakers, guests enjoyed music provided by WPGC, great food, cocktails, and the stunning architecture of the Corcoran building.
However, no event is truly great without a little audience participation! After having the chance to explore the exhibit for themselves, guests were able to vote for three of their favorite art pieces (our “Fan Favorites”). It was a tough call, but the public spoke loud and clear:
- Claudia Lamy’s Intimacy with a Stranger 1 and Intimacy with a Stranger 2 won first place in fan favorites–an interactive piece that encouraged strangers to be intimate with one another.
- Runner-up was Kelly Gillis’ Sugar Tits–a beautiful piece many interpreted as pointing out the beauty and power in all breasts no matter the shape or size.
- The touching piece entitled Home by Quincy Mata won third place amongst fan favorites; the piece was inspired by the 2016 heartbreaking Orlando nightclub shooting–while the piece is rooted in a place of grief it empowers us to celebrate life and safe spaces for all people.
The night was certainly one for DC history books. Feeling upset that you missed out? No need to fret- the exhibit will be open to the public until August 19. Visit Corcoran’s website and plan your visit today! Also, make sure to check out the rest of the pictures from the event here.
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