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Heron Arts and Leather & LGBT Cultural District Celebrate Pride with Pop Up Art and Drag Show

Category   Events

Story and Photos by Max Guerrera 

To kick off pride month, Heron Arts came together with SOMA West CBD and the Leather & LGBT Cultural District with a group exhibition pop up art show to celebrate LGBTQ artists on Friday, June 2. 

The exhibition featured work from local artists who express themselves by making art with themes of queerness. It wouldn’t be a celebration of pride without a drag performance, and Kochina Rude put on a vibrant show in the center of the gallery. 

“My drag persona is a vehicle for my artistic expression” -kochina Rude

“The idea of playing with gender is integral to everything we have fought for”, they added.

Cal Callahan, district manager of the Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District says that the leather community was “a basis of pride and the evolution of what we know as the queer community.”

When the pride pop up event was proposed, the cultural district was pleased to unite queer artists from their cultural spotlight with Heron Arts according to Callahan. “We try to promote the artists that align with our values.”

Native San Fransicsian and painter Tanya Wischerath displayed two of her paintings in the exhibit. Her art centers around queer themes and documents her experience in the city’s LGBTQ community. She painted a portrait of her partner called “Bath” in a Roman Catholic inspired style that she picked up while studying in Italy. “It created this really dramatic look.” Said Wischerath. She was moved in an intimate moment with her partner and thought, “you look like a saint in this bathtub with this arch. Their body looked so beautiful and sacred to me at that moment.” 

"Bath" By Tanya Wischerath

When she was working on the painting the week prior to the exhibit, she remembered news coming out about limitations placed on trans care and access to gender affirming surgeries. “Looking at my partner who is trans in this beautiful, almost holy light shows that their gender is spiritual. This captures the domestic element of that, watching a partner take a bath; but also in another lens, it felt like a spiritually precious moment.”

SOMA WEST CBD is beyond proud to have collaborated on a project that uplifts the artistic visions of LGBTQ artists in our neighborhood. The show featured a stylistically diverse collection of work from creatives with unique backgrounds and identities. 

“Although the styles and execution span around the gambit, there was a queer sensibility that bound the show together.” Said Callahan. 

Artists featured:
Adam Caldwell, Aleckzander Anthony, Alex Prestia, Diego Gomez, Dorian Katz, Elliott C Nathan, Favianna Rodriguez, Gloria Polo, J Manuel Carmona, Johnny Botts, Jonesy, Josh Katz, Justin Hall, Kegan Marling, Luke Andahazy, Phil Chanin (Glitter Moonbeam), Serge Gay Jr., and Tanya Wischerath.

Artwork from left to right: 
"Fallen Tears" by Aleckzander Anthony, "Glitter Heart" (above) and "Faux Pearls" (below) by Glitter Moonbeam, "Reclining Nude" (above) by Favianna Rodriguez, "Vista Point" (below) by Alexander Prestia, "Make Drag Not War" by Diego Gomez, "Proud America" by J Manuel Carmona, "Major Hammy at Princess" (above) by Alexander Prestia, "Reflections" (below) by Aleckzander Anthony,