Visual Art

Queering the Conversation

Foster Gallery exhibit examines queer identities in the Midwest

Catey Leonardson |

“Hands” by Melissa Wilkinson, watercolor on paper (2017)
“Hands” by Melissa Wilkinson, watercolor on paper (2017)

UW-Eau Claire is illuminating often-silenced voices with a new exhibition in the Ruth Foster Gallery. “Midwest Queeritivities” gives a platform to queer artists throughout the region and beautifully showcases a peek into the complicated diversity of the Midwest. The collection of multimedia and literary pieces explores the relationship between queer communities and other cultures under the shadow of Midwestern stereotypes, emphasizing how queer bodies have been contested over time.

The gallery is open 10am-4:30pm every weekday, as well as 6-8pm Thursdays and 1-4:30pm on weekends. This exhibit, which is free and open to the public, runs until Wednesday, March 11. A series of events connected to the exhibition will kick off with live music by Free Garbage at 6pm on Thursday, Feb 20. A week later, on Thursday, Feb. 27, there will be a 6pm reception celebrating the accomplishment of showcasing this artwork, with a panel at 10am the following day to explore the subject matter in greater depth.

The final event will be a live reading and open mic at 6pm on Thursday, March 5. Visit the exhibition at any (or all) of these times to critically engage with topics involving LGBTQ+ identity. Guests are encouraged to ask difficult questions, ponder the stereotypes the Midwest is often reduced to, and consider how contemporary art is queering that narrative. Organizers hope people leave with a renewed sense of inspiration to continue questioning the histories of social institutions and strive toward inclusion and representation for all in the community.