Celebrating Art and Trans Activism this Pride Month

June 26, 2024

California Community Foundation (CCF) is deeply committed to fostering cultural diversity and promoting inclusivity through our grantmaking and partnership activities. This includes robust arts investments and initiatives where we are focused on empowering artists, especially those from historically underrepresented communities,providing them with the resources, platforms, and visibility needed to succeed.

Honoring LGBTQ+ Artists

This month, as we commemorate Pride, we honor the contributions of two LGBTQ+ artists in Los Angeles County who, through their work, confront societal prejudices and reclaim narratives of identity and belonging within the LGBTQ+ community. Their contributions remind us of the ongoing struggle for acceptance and dignity amidst a polarizing political landscape. In the face of ongoing challenges and threats to trans rights, artists stand as beacons of resilience and creativity, using their art to amplify trans voices and advocate for inclusivity and equality.

Celebrating Pride: CCF Unveils “Trans Nepantla” by Salvador de La Torre

To commemorate Pride this year, CCF commissioned Salvador de La Torre to create “Trans Nepantla,” a special art piece for CCF’s Pride Community Celebration Event, showcasing the transformative power of arts in the LGBTQ+ community. The artwork delves into Nepantla, the middle space or space in between, drawing from Latinx culture and applying it to the transgender and non-binary experience. Through phrases like “I am not from here, and I am not from there,” “I’m not a man nor a woman,” and “I am a man, and I am a woman,” Salvador explores themes of identity and belonging with profound depth and inclusivity.

Salvador is a Mexican-born artist raised in Texas and now based in Los Angeles. Their work is a powerful exploration of identity and cultural heritage, a journey that resonates with many in the LGBTQ+ community. Their art and performances challenge norms, creating a space for queerness and transness within familial narratives. In doing so, they are creating a new ancestral legacy and reshaping the cultural landscape for the LGBTQ+ community.

“My work is an unapologetic love letter to trans and queer people of color,” says Salvador. “In its most powerful moments, it sparks meaningful conversations and inspires introspection and empathy, showing that the revolution starts from within.”

  

Supporting Local Artists through Fellowships

The CCF Fellowship for Visual Artists is another critical investment CCF makes to support the advancement of the arts in our communities. The program supports local artists in advancing their professional development and ensuring they have access to a long-term, sustainable career in the arts in Los Angeles.

Asher Hartman, a transgender writer and director based in Los Angeles, is a California Community Foundation’s (CCF) Fellowship for Visual Artists (2022) Alumni. He addresses social and political issues through immersive live performances. As the founder of Gawdafful National Theater, Asher merges theater and performance art to explore themes of identity and power in the face of societal crisis. His immersive experiences blend humor with deep emotional resonance, set within installations designed to provoke thought and feeling. From “The Dope Elf,” a series exploring the complexities of identity and power, to performances commissioned by prestigious institutions like LACMA and The Hammer Museum, Asher’s art challenges audiences to rethink conventional narratives and embrace complexity.

“My work blends theater and performance art to confront the pressing social and political issues of our time,” explains Asher. “Infused with humor and visual poetry, my performances aim to unsettle and provoke, inviting audiences into immersive experiences that challenge conventional narratives.”

Transformative Power of Art in Activism

Both Salvador and Asher embody the transformative power of art in activism. Their creative endeavors not only celebrate queer identity but also serve as platforms to advocate against systemic erasure and discrimination faced by the trans community. Through their art, they contribute to reshaping societal perceptions and advancing a more inclusive future.

“CCF is deeply committed to advancing the arts as a catalyst for social change and cultural understanding,” said  Álvaro Daniel Márquez, CCF Program Officer for Arts and Culture. “By empowering marginalized artists, we embrace the intersectionality of art, race, gender, and identity. This approach acknowledges the complexities of societal structures and aims to amplify diverse voices, fostering a more inclusive and equitable community. Through our support, we strive to celebrate and elevate artists who courageously navigate and articulate their cultural identities, challenging perceptions and enriching our collective narrative.”

If you would like to learn more about our work supporting the arts or explore more opportunities to support cultural diversity through our initiatives, please contact Andres Telo, Donor Relations Manager, at atelo@calfund.org.

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