SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Many see art as a source of comfort. A safe space, even. That makes the Everson Museum the perfect place to hold certain conversations.
Last Friday, the museum hosted “Queer Night,” its latest venture in providing spaces for Syracuse’s LGBTQ+ community. The event brought older and younger generations of the LGBTQ+ community together to discuss their personal experiences.
When the Everson’s education coordinator, Shari Merten, first moved to Syracuse, she didn’t see many programs for LGBTQ+ individuals. So she took it upon herself to make sure the Everson provided these opportunities.
“I moved to Syracuse about a year ago, and I realized there wasn’t a lot of queer programming happening at the museum,” she says. “So I wanted to change that. We’ve been working with queer artists, teaching classes, and forming safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals. Tonight is the culmination of all of that.”
Another part of Queer Night involved an exhibit currently on display at the Everson. The event offered a look at “Magic Vessel,” which featured the work of Pepe Mar, a Miami-based, queer artist. Mar condenses his emotions into a character known as “Paprika.” Merten explained that Mar’s work studies the idea of an alter-ego – something so many LGBTQ+ individuals know well.
“Just within queer culture, you have different personalities,” she says. “Personas you’re presenting to people.”
Merten says the mere presence of art helps people open up about personal topics.
“Art is for everyone, right?” she says. “Using art, it just yields so well. You can view it through so many different lenses. Whether or not that’s talking about black history, queer history, or women’s history. There’s so many lenses to view art through.”
While Queer Night wrapped up last week, you can visit Pepe Mar’s exhibit until Dec.31.