LGBT arts in South Florida will be the focus of a new, two-year initiative called, Converging Crossroads. Led by the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, this collaborative effort brings together three of the state’s notable LGBT cultural organizations for creative programming that builds audiences and visibility for LGBT arts. The program is being funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as one of the winners of the 2015 Knights Arts Challenge. From a pool of 1,000 applicants, 75 finalists were chosen and 53 winners were announced on November 30 at New World Center in Miami.
Designed to include performances, workshops, pop-up concerts, and various other arts events; Converging Crossroads is the intersection of arts, society, and identity. “We couldn’t be more honored to work with such esteemed partners as Stonewall National Museum & Archives and Island City Stage,” comments GMCSF’s Executive Director Mark Kent. “We know LGBT artists contribute substantially to the overall cultural fabric of South Florida. Thanks to the generosity of Knight Foundation, we can bring those contributions to the forefront of the region’s cultural identity and celebrate them.”
The strength of the initiative is in the collaboration of the three arts partners. The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida is the largest gay men’s chorus in the Southeast and features more than 150 men who deliver on a passionate mission to inspire through song. The Chorus is currently in its sixth season, making this news an exciting achievement for such a young organization. Stonewall National Museum & Archives promotes understanding through preserving and sharing the proud culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their significant role in American Society. The third arts partner, Island City Stage, is a multi-award winning professional theater that specializes in developing new work in addition to featuring the works of playwrights who expose audiences to different voices and experiences. In addition to these three leading LGBT arts organizations, several other local LGBT arts groups will be engaged whenever possible.
GMCSF and its partners assert that LGBT arts organizations have particularly important roles to play as storytellers of our community’s history and communicators of the emotional journeys of LGBT individuals. They believe that through theatre, music, art, dance and other genres LGBT artists and arts organizations have the opportunity to emotionally connect with others in society, building bridges of understanding and compassion.
Converging Crossroads programming begins in the 2016-2017 season and continues the following year. The initiative focuses on work by the three collaborative partners while also seeking ways to shed light on the many other LGBT arts organizations in the region. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded GMCSF $40,000 in matching funds to launch the innovative concept. “We are certainly looking for other visionary funders to join Knight Foundation in building the future of LGBT arts in South Florida,” states Kent.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.