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  • Nic F. Anderson

Queer NYC Artist on Creating, Curating Queer Art Spaces and Building Community

The New York City art scene is notoriously cutthroat, exclusionary and inaccessible for many. The city is praised for its diversity and applauded for the works of art its inhabitants produce. However, many times, queer artists – especially queer artists of color – and their work are dismissed and spaces for them are few and far between.

Photo of people viewing each other's work | Photo by Angel Morales (Used with permission)

Brooklyn artist, Angel Morales (they/them), is fighting back by hosting workshops and lesbian figure drawing classes catered to the queer community in New York City.

Morales asked themselves why there weren’t any art spaces catered to queer people or why there weren’t spaces for queer bodies to be uplifted in their work, especially considering queer New Yorkers make up 5% of the city’s population.

“I wanted to figure out how to make spaces for lesbians and the general queer community to come together, network, see each other’s work, paint along side each other and share resources. That doesn’t really exists in spaces for queer artists, specifically painters.”

In an effort to create the space they envisioned, they make sure all of the models at the workshops and classes are lesbians or gender non-conforming individuals.

As for creating a space, Morales took a “no frills” approach. They do most of their advertising and calls for models on social media and Lex.

The first workshop they held was at Wow Cafe Theatre, located at 59-61 E 4th St #4, in the East Village in December 2021. The second workshop was in February at the Living Gallery, located at 1094 Broadway, in Brooklyn.

Photo of people viewing each other's work | Photo by Angel Morales (Used with permission)

The next event will take place on April 12 at 5:30 p.m. with the theme of Butch 4 Butch Cowboys which will also be at the Living Gallery.

After each event, Morales learns something new about hosting workshops in different spaces and enjoys finding new ways to incorporate different aspects of art and fun into every class.

“I love niche little gay playlists,” they said. For the next event on April 12, they want to curate a playlist that will fit the queer western theme.

The props attendees see are items from Morales’ home. “I try to make it feel more homey,” they said. When asked if they had a cart to bring all of the items, they laughed and said they do have one but always forget it and added they usually end up hauling two Ikea bags filled with props and tarps from their home.

Eventually, Morales would like to have a physical space for creative workshops. They envision the space to ve a place where other community members can host workshops, create and show their own art. They explained that there are many people who don’t have the degrees required to teach in an institution but are more than capable of teaching. “I don’t know when that will happen, I’m kind of starting from scratch,” they said.

For tickets for the upcoming Butch 4 Butch Cowboy drawing class, please visit Eventbrite.

[See: NYC ARTIST HIGHLIGHT: Angel Morales]