Virtual Artist Talk: Andy Abeyta -- July 23 (photo by Meg McLaughlin).

Thursday, July 23, 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by the Figge Art Museum

Appearing in a virtual July 23 Artist Talk hosted by Davenport's Figge Art Museum, a lauded Midwestern photojournalist discusses the images he shot for the venue's current exhibition QC Pride Photographs by Andy Abeyta – a celebration of Quad Cities Unity Pride's 2019 Pridefest, and the beautiful faces and sights Abeyta captured, on display through August 2.

President of QC Pride Tee LeShoure states that the organization is “dedicated to promoting awareness and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in the Quad Cities region. Since 2017, our organization has put a spotlight on the LGBTQ+ community, showcasing their talents, stories, and lives.” Of the array of events that QC Pride organizes, including a parade, Vice-President Michelle Royal states, “We are celebrating our history, where we are and where we are going … .”

The first pride parades commemorated the 1969 Stonewall riots, an uprising of Stonewall Inn patrons and community members in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. The community joined in solidarity against pervasive harassment and violence by the New York Police Department. Since then, the pride movement has grown and evolved, remaining rooted in ideals of cultural equality, self-expression, and the continuing struggle for equal rights and representation for the LGBTQ+ community.

Photography is a powerful medium for spreading awareness. Rather than words on a page or a computer monitor, we see people gathered in struggle or celebration – humanizing issues that concern us all. Photography also gives these events a life that lasts long after the crowds disperse. Whether pride parades, women’s suffrage marches, civil rights demonstrations, or events such as QC Unity Pride Week, these images speak to our common history and the society in which we live, and the joyous and vibrant photographs on display in QC Pride Photographs by Andy Abeyta are powerful portraits of pride in our community.

Abeyta received his BA degree in journalism from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He was previously on staff at the Quad-City Times, and currently works for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids. As a photojournalist, Abeyta is invested in documenting and sharing the stories of others through his work, and has stated, “I hope for viewers these images reflect the significance of the LGBTQ+ community not only in the Quad-Cities, but throughout society. It is the greatest pleasure of my career to showcase and share the lives of those around me. I would encourage any viewer to seek a new experience in community wherever they may find it.”

Andy Abeyta's online presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. on July 23, and although his virtual Artist Talk is free, advance registration is required, with virtual registrants receiving an e-mail with a link to join the program at the scheduled time. For more information on the event, or on the QC Pride Photographs by Andy Abeyta exhibit running through August 2, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.org.

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