ROCHESTER — Leah Bee says she has two main takeaways from establishing queer art nights at Art Heads Emporium.
First, the depth of talent in the local queer community runs deep. Second, the lack of a central place for queer people hinders the ability of queer artists to connect with each other.
As a result, Bee, owner of the Art Heads Emporium, decided to host a queer art party at the studio and store.
Forgoing live music, Bee was able to make room for 16 local queer artists for Thursday’s event.
She had about 40 applicants.
“We were actually quite surprised at the number of submissions we got,” she said.
To help narrow down the artists selected, Bee prioritized artists from Rochester despite impressive submissions from the surrounding area.
“It was very difficult to narrow it down, but it was really about closeness,” Bee said. “It would be nice if we could accommodate them all.”
A variety of works including paintings, illustrations, fiber art, ceramics, and more. will be exhibited and for sale. Bee said she is holding the event on Thursdays downtown in hopes of increasing attendance.
“It’s a great way to meet new queer artists in town and buy from queer artists in town,” she said.
Bee said she also wanted to create a different market than other established gay-focused events.
“A lot of events are very alcohol-focused,” she said. “So it’s nice to see something that isn’t that people of all ages can witness.”
Bee said she hopes to host more events and will continue to host queer art nights at the emporium. She said the events helped fill a void until a gay-centric space opened up in the region.
“In a city where there are no gay bars and no talk of them, the more pop-up events we can host, the better,” she said. “There is a need for more LGBTQ spaces in Rochester.”
What: Queer art market.
When: 6 p.m., Thursday, August 4
Where: Art Heads Emporium, 317 South Broadway Ave.
How much: Free.