Local Businesses Invited to Take Part in September Strength in Pride Art Walk

The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance is partnering with photographer Lauren Merrell and Youth OUTRight to bring local businesses a unique opportunity. They are invited to become a Strength in Pride Art Walk Exhibitor for the month of September. It is a chance to stimulate foot traffic, educate the public, and support a local non-profit that serves LGBTQ youth.

Credit: Lauren Merrell
Credit: Lauren Merrell

During June of this year, #StrengthinPride shared the pain and joy of being LGBTQ – as experienced by 33 members of our local community.  Each day featured a new life.  The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance team seeks to give further exposure to this exhibition while bringing more traffic to area businesses.  Says Business Alliance Director Chris Tinkler, “These portraits artfully express the the pain, the joy, and the humanity of people who consider themselves LGBTQ. We want to give them as wide a showing as possible.  Rather than stick them in a single gallery, we thought, ‘why not spread them across the community that we all call home?'”

The goal of the project is to install all 33 exhibits around the Asheville community and to encourage people to visit them.  The team plans to promote participating businesses and organizations and to offer a map and a guide.

Participating is easy:

  1. A business or organization that wishes to display an exhibit is simply asked to cover the production costs.  The portraits will be produced on framed, 11×16 museum-quality paper.  A team will help to install the exhibit at the end of August. (Click button below.)
  2. Businesses will display their exhibit in their store or building for the entire month of September – the month of the upcoming Blue Ridge Pride Festival.  They will be featured in a Strength in Pride Tour Guide and Map and on Blue Ridge Pride’s website and social media posts.  They will also be featured at the festival.
  3. At the end of the month, the exhibits will be gathered and the entire series auctioned.  All auction proceeds will benefit Youth OUTRight.

Mr. Tinkler is excited by this project.  “This is exactly what our Business Alliance Program is all about: working together to lift up both our community and our local businesses.”

“But,” adds the project founder, Lauren Merrell, “people need to act quickly.  We need to give our printers and installers sufficient lead time. We hope to get orders placed by August 15.

Please join us.   Project Home Page | Order Form

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