Every Color of the Rainbow was a three-day multimedia exhibit over Valentine’s weekend designed to showcase the infinite colors of the queer experience. Artists gathered together on opening night to celebrate their art with friends, family, and community members while listening to music from WXYC DJs and spoken word performances from the UNC Wordsmiths and EROT.
After the exhibit was over, we talked with UNC student and lead curator, Jo Snow, who came to us with this idea and worked closely with us to help make the idea a reality. In the conversation below, Jo explains the inspiration behind the exhibit, talks through the process and experience, and shares what an exhibit like this means for our community.
Arts Everywhere: What motivated/inspired you to program an exhibit like this?
Jo Snow: Personally, I was extremely disheartened by the lack of queer art I saw being showcased on campus despite how many talented queer artists students and locals I knew. The LGBTQIA community has always been averted from expressing their authenticity in everyday life since the beginning of time. Art is a mode of expression that has saved so many and allowed us to express what the rest of the world has hidden and silenced for ages. I wanted to create a space for LGBTQIA artists to be promoted and admired for as expressive and beautiful as they are and always will be.
AE: What did you enjoy most about the process of bringing the exhibit together?
JS: Working with Arts Everywhere was so amazing. I have not had the chance to collaborate and work on this big of a project before, so the entire experience was so uplifting and fruitful. Before the show opened and everything had been set in the space was probably my favorite moment. To see how perfectly everything came together with months of dedication and hard work with Arts Everywhere and myself made me feel so grateful.
AE: Thoughts on how the opening reception went?
JS: The opening reception was incredible. So many people came to attend and the atmosphere was so welcoming and inviting. WXYC DJs and the spoken word performances did a fantastic job and the art was even more beautiful when it was being consumed by so many others across the community.
AE: Why was this exhibit important to the UNC and Chapel Hill community? Why was this exhibit important to you?
JS: This exhibit was integral to the UNC and Chapel Hill community because the LGBTQIA community on and off campus are underrepresented and unaccounted for in so many facets. In the aspect of art where queer people thrive it is very imperative that their work is admired and acclaimed for its talent and authenticity.
Personally, as queer trans masculine individual, this exhibit was more than just an art show to me, but a brief and gorgeous gasp at what can be done when the LGBTQIA community is recognized for its lifelong resilience and expression.
AE: Any other takeaways or thoughts you want to add?
JS: Support the LGBTQIA community in their art and every other facet. Realizing authentic expression in everyday life is a privilege we do not often have and art has been our escape. Stand with us. March with us. Lead with us. Fight with us, so everyday expressions can become a normality.
Featured exhibit artists included: Ryan Alderman, Iris Gottlieb, Alex Kim, Jackie De Melo, Steven Ray Miller, Cara Neely, Sophie Payne, Isabel Perry, Katherine Purello, Sydney Wood
The 140 W Franklin Street, Suite 160 space where the exhibit was on view was powered by Arts Everywhere, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.