KENOSHA — On display at the UW-Parkside Library Art Space is a visual art movement created by Racine local, Heidi Wagner. THE PASSIONS PROJECT | LGBTQ+ Racine showcases a series of stories of Racine’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community by offering the viewer a glimpse into their passions.
THE PASSIONS PROJECT | LGBTQ+ Racine is a series within Wagner’s larger portrait series called THE PASSIONS PROJECT, which is part of THE PASSIONS MOVEMENT.
The project was captured by Wagner, a nationally-recognized photographer and art activist, whose goal is to build a connection with the community through her images and storytelling. This leg of the project is on display through March 30 at UW-Parkside’s Library in Wyllie Hall, 900 Wood Road.
“I was a queer kid growing up here,” said Wagner. “I’ve left and returned, and have lived the change that has happened. To see this work being supported and embraced feels like coming full circle. There is more work to be done, but it is amazing to me that this is happening here, now.”
The portrait series was first on display at Social on Sixth in November and December 2022. Now, the project is reaching students and community members through the University.
No matter its location, the objective of the project remains the same. “Be you. Be celebrated.” That is the call to action put forth by THE PASSIONS PROJECT | LGBTQ+ Racine.
Those interested in the display and tours can contact Wagner.
Engaging through passions
Through this series, Wagner tells the stories of the members of the queer community—her community—as a way of creating social connections and building a safe, inclusive community that welcomes and affirms all.
“When you see people engaged in their passion, you no longer see how they are different from you. You see a way to connect,” said Wagner.
Through her projects, she combines art with individuals’ stories to create a new narrative around living with passion and purpose inclusive of all races, creeds, genders, and gender identities.
UW-Parkside students highlighted
THE PASSIONS PROJECT | LGBTQ+ Racine highlights by capturing the stories and passions of local multigenerational queer persons through the art-based, community-impact photo installation. Among those pictured are UW-Parkside students and graduates.
Enzo Daniel (’18), Juliana Garcia-Malacara (Juju) (current student), Alberto Huerta (’16 & ’20), and John Powilaites (’95 &’96) are featured as well as others.
The community is invited to a reception and panel discussion from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23. The panel discussion will run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be hosted in the Art in the Library space at UW-Parkside.
Featured in the discussion will be artist Heidi Wagner along with UW-Parkside students and alumni who are featured in the exhibit.
Wagner has partnered with a variety of organizations and businesses to bring the project to life. Sponsors of THE PASSIONS PROJECT | LGBTQ+ Racine include United Way of Racine County, Johnson Financial Group, Twin Disc, Helen & Craig Leipold, Plumb Gold – Plumb Silver, The Prairie School, and Racine Arts Council.
To learn more, visit www.thepassionsmovement.com. Learn more about Wagner’s photography by visiting her website.
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