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Making & Sustaining Change: Creating Space for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC Individuals in the Arts

There is a lot of talk of diversity and inclusion today, but what does creating equitable and liberating change actually look like? How can you create an environment, organization, or community that is not only welcoming to everyone but actually represents the population you serve? This round table will function as the very beginning of this conversation. What folks are not represented in your space? Why are they not there? What are you doing to make space and a platform for them? This round table will also cover some basic terminology and create a safe space for questions regarding race, gender, identity, sexuality, etc.

Facilitator: Alexander Martin
Alexander Martin is a multiracial black and queer artist and performer living and working in Peoria, Illinois. Born in Hurricane, West Virginia, they completed their BFA at West Virginia University in 2010, then went on to receive their MFA in printmaking from Bradley University in 2017. In 2015 they co-founded the artist-run project space Project 1612 with Jessica Bingham and Zach Ott, bringing contemporary artists and their practices to Central Illinois in an accessible manner while highlighting the efforts of the Central Illinois arts community. After receiving their MFA, Alexander spent a brief time in residency at T.H.I.Studios in Tottenham North London, then served as resident and program director at the Prairie Center of the Arts. As a drag queen performing under the name Artemisia VanHo, Alexander was crowned Miss Gay Peoria and Miss Gay Illinois USofA 2019 and often contributes performances to community education events. Community engagement is a major theme of their studio practice, so they are involved with several organizations and community art planning efforts, for example the 2020 project ‘Remember Her Peoria’ that commemorated and called attention to the lives of local women lost to violence. Alexander currently works as the peer outreach and marketing coordinator for Central Illinois Friends, doing work with the LGBTQ+ and black community around sexual health and destigmatization. Their practice is a combination of mixed media work, found objects, performance, ritual, and education. Alexander serves on the ArtsPartners of Central Illinois Board of Directors.

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