LGBTQ+ Art On Display at Loring and Powderhorn Parks This Summer

Photos courtesy of Brian Wagner
Photos courtesy of Brian Wagner

There is something to be said about the power of art as a communal force, as something that brings people together into a shared appreciation of beauty. Especially for the LGBTQ+ community, the power of art is incredibly important. Not only does it act as a medium of self-exploration and expression, but it can also be a conduit for inspiring a more positive future for everyone.

Art festivals are a great embodiment of art’s ability to bring people together for communal engagement, bringing art out from the museums and galleries into public places for all to see. Minneapolis is home to many art festivals, including the upcoming fairs at Loring Park and Powderhorn Park. Both fairs will have a wide assortment of art, including art from LGBTQ+ artists.

Powderhorn Art Fair

Riley Kleve has been knitting for as long as they have had the ability to. They begged their mom to pass down her knitting knowledge, observed workers at their local yarn shop, participated in a handspinning group at their college, and eventually founded their own company, Better Days Yarn. Using their yarn, Kleve produces a wide assortment of colorful displays, from dish towels, art yarn, and fairy lights.

Fairy lights are decorative string lights coated in prismatically colored yarn. They emanate a soft, warm glow perfect for fostering a cozy environment. Kleve’s fairy lights differ from most art in the way that they invite their owner into a creative mood, asking them to incorporate this colorful piece into their home in their own unique way. As Kleve themselves say, “So much of the commercial art world is about showing off wealth by making a home or office look the same as the white-walled gallery where the art is displayed and sold, which is not my style at all. I strive to make art that my friends and community can integrate into their own lives any way that they see fit.”

Kleve’s LGBTQ+ experiences are tightly intertwined with their art. “I approach them both in the same way, where some days I’m working to create something new and beautiful, and other days I’m working to pass on what I’ve learned to others.” To Kleve, community is essential for yarn and LGBTQ+ people. Shared knowledge spreads through community strengthens bonds to the past, increases proficiency, and helps people live authentically.

In addition to Kleve, the Powderhorn Art Fair will also feature the art from Z Kaplan, a gender-liberated artist creating incredible ceramics, and Mo O’Laughlin, a trans non-binary artist whose work explores the relationship between movement and emotion. All of their work can be found at the Powderhorn Art Fair. The fair is held at Powderhorn Park on August 5th and 6th.

Loring Art Fair

Brian Wagner is a gay, non-binary lithographer. Lithography uses limestone, water, and grease to produce prints. Wagner’s work has an interest in spaces and the feelings they evoke for the people who inhabit them. “The current body of work I have been spending time with involves densely-layered, rendered lithographs that explore the tenderness, loneliness, acceptance, and gentle anger of queerness and healing,” Wagner explains. “These prints and writings consider the physical and emotional spaces of love, hurt, trauma, and remembrance of relationships in the forms of drawn landscapes and queer symbolism of the day-to-day life of a queer person.”

Rustic landscapes populate their prints, juxtaposing wild and twiggy plains with uncertain houses. When observing their prints, I find myself surrounded with an evocative unknown, wondering just how much comfort I ought to take in these uncertain landscapes. Likewise, the houses feel like they guard their own secrets. Their windows don’t give access to their interiors, so I can judge these houses only by their textured exteriors.

For Wagner, rural spaces are an important focus. As Wagner explains, “For me these spaces I draw are meant to be reclaimed and lived in. These are spaces of transition and are often temporary, ever-changing, and ever-growing, something that they find cohesive with my own queerness, and identity. Much of my youth was spent out in the fields and these are still formative relationships to me, today. Queer people exist everywhere-not just in big cities, and these environments are often not safe for us to be in. The snippets of text used offer a glance into the lived experience of a queer individual-some are laced with loneliness; others hurt; and some contextualize the healing that follows trauma. It’s my hope that these spaces can offer solace to someone who has faced the same.”

Wagner will showcase their most recent creation of dirt and silt and branch and bone, as well as many of their older pieces.

In addition to Wagner’s art, the Loring Art Fair will also be host to many other LGBTQ+ artists. Other LGBTQ+ artists at the Loring Art Fair include quilt maker and painter Sandi Garris, photographer Andy Hall, seashell jeweler Brenna Klassen-Glanzer, glass blower Jon Offutt, and acrylic painter Marisa Ray. The Loring Park Art Fair will be held at Loring Park on July 29th and 30th.

Loring Park Art Festival
July 29-30
Loring Park, Minneapolis

Powderhorn Art Fair
August 5-6
Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436
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