2017 was an exciting year for arts and culture at the DC Center. For the first time ever, the DC Center appointed a Director of Arts and Cultural Programs. Kimberley Bush, who was previously the Director of our film festival, Reel Affirmations, stepped into this new role and worked with our dedicated and amazing chairpersons and volunteers to coordinate all of our arts programming including:
- Reel Affirmations: Washington DC’s International LGBTQ Film Festival
- Reel Affirmations XTRA: Washington DC’s International LGBTQ Monthly Film Series
- OutWrite: Our LGBTQ Literary Book Festival
- DC Queer Theatre Festival
- Center Arts Gallery: Our LGBTQ Visual Arts Space
- Ignition: The Spoken Word Series
2017 brought the 24th Annual Reel Affirmations Film Festival which was held for the 3rd year at the historic Gala Hispanic Theater. We screened over 40 films over the course of 4 days ( up from 3 days in 2016) to hundreds of LGBTQ individuals, our allys and supporters. Over the course of the 4 days, over 10 filmmakers participated in Filmmaker TalkBacks/Q&A with a catered meet and greet reception. Ticket sales was not as fruitful as originally expected mostly due to the myriad of events occurring on the same weekend including Howard University’s 150th Anniversary/Homecoming and the Marine Corps Marathon just to name a few.
RA also held its first ever collaboration screening with The Studio Theatre of the film “Kiki” in conjunction with The Studio Theatre production “WigOut” in June as well as a LGBTQ film showcase during their “Taste Of Studio” celebration in August.
RA XTRA experienced huge success with 13 screenings, typically one per month and on one occasion two in one month. RA also held, apres film screening, a quarterly, multicultural director/producer Talkback/Q&A with catered cocktail reception. This year, RA introduced its’ Countries and Closets Sub-Series, which explores films that depict the lives of individuals who live in countries where to be LGBTQ is illegal or banned. We also held our first Reel Trans Film Festival during Captial Trans Pride and 2017 will mark our 3rd annual World Aids Day Film Screening.
Outwrite was extraordinarily successful with over 300 attendees over the course of 3 days in August 2017 with over 40 well received presenters/speakers and 25+ literary vendors. Many of our readings/presentations were sold out/at capacity.
The 5th annual DC Queer Theatre Festival took place October 13th and 14th at the Anacostia Arts Center and featured six talented performers in solo plays. Our artists were Elizabeth McCain, Christopher Prince, DeLesslin George-Warren, XemiyuluManibusan, J. Scales, and Regie Cabico.
Center Arts Gallery opened in April 2017 featuring all genres of art created by LGBTQ Artisans. Our Grand Opening Reception of our first installation, in April, was free and open to the public. Our full-color exhibit showcased 14 pieces of visual art created by the group members The Art and Peer Support Group facilitated by Antonio Pineda. Mr. Pineda is a Treatment Navigator at the Infectious Disease Clinic at MedStar Health Research Institute at Washington Hospital Center, NW Washington D.C., where he specializes in helping clients who are living with HIV/AIDS.
Our next exhibit in Dec 2017, will feature the work of Jo Martinez. Jo’s art centers primarily on topics of sexuality, psychological and gender identity with recurring themes of power, vulnerability, domestic violence and the sway between them.
Finally this year’s Capturing Fire Poetry Slam took place June 9-11th. The DC Center is proud to have been the first home for the Capturing Fire slam, founded by Regie Cabico. We are equally excited that the slam will continue, now as an independent project, under Regie’s Leadership.
Our new spoken word initiative, Ignition, was developed in 2017 and will officially launch next year. The Spoken Series seeks to empower Trans & Queer people through spoken word art culture. The genres include performance art, poetry slam, story telling. Ignition seeks to fuse the spoken word with all genres of expression. Ignition The Spoken Series programs are open to all Trans & Queer Allies. Look for more information about this new initiative soon.
Center Arts received generous support this year from AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Cherry Fund, the Mayor’s Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. We also received generous in-kind support from the Human Rights Campaign as well as Tito’s Vodka, Barefoot Wine and Lagunitas Beer.
And of course, none of this work would be possible without generous supporters like you.