Photo by Jenny Prieb
“Pride & Love” by Jay Hoff and Chad Mize with Metro Inclusive Health, SHINE 2019
What’s up with diversity? I grew up in a street culture (NYC), where people of many backgrounds, many walks of life interacted and communicated with each other, since it was simply unavoidable. When I left and moved to L.A. (car culture), that diversity slipped away.
It made me realize how fortunate I was to experience other vantage points, different ways to look at the world. Critical to what we do at SHINE and endemic of who we are as an organization, is celebrating that diversity. Not everyone interprets art the same way and that is the beauty of artistic expression. There are so many ways to look at the world, as we each bring our unique perspective to each other, learning and growing together.
There is no better time than now to share your PRIDE. As a woman who chose another woman to share my life with, I know that being different, standing for equity and inclusion brings our world, our city to a higher place. The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance will always have the light of diversity shining. It is the very reason that we celebrate PRIDE with our Once Upon A Shine: A Very Gay Mural Scavenger Hunt—our second year of this city-wide experience hosted by our Fairy Drag- mother, Miss McGee.
Utilizing art—visual and performing to communicate is powerful. Making art accessible in public settings, adds to the power of the messages we share. These messages should always be of acceptance, love, and harmony. Why in the world would we chose anything but that?
Let us all take this moment in time to acknowledge and respect each other, to celebrate our differences and to teach future generations that there are so many colors in the rainbow and extracting one color, creates a cavity, an emptiness. We are all a part of the rainbow and all we need to do is look upwards.
—Terry Marks, CEO St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.