Coming Out Show Celebrates Diverse Identities with Interactive Art and Performance

By Caitlin Burns | May 1, 2019

Student explores the coming out show

The University Seminar “Coming Out” hosted its 7th annual Coming Out Show, a celebration of diverse identities and coming out stories within the Arcadia community, on April 23.

Featuring art crafted by students in the class, the exhibition included paintings, sculptures, and spoken word depicting narratives of sexuality, gender identity, illness, addiction, and body image.

This year, many of the art installations included an interactive element. Visitors could reflect on their own life stories and identities by writing positive messages on the art, flipping through artbooks, or creating miniature clay sculptures related to themes such as “love” or “gender.”

Education major Hannah Goncalves ’22 created a piece to represent Sociology major Caitlin Joyce ’20’s story of living with a disability. Drawing inspiration from black box art, the piece was veiled with a curtain and decorated with representations of Joyce, emphasizing how some disabilities and chronic illnesses are invisible. Visitors could lift up the curtain to reveal the word “disability,” highlighted by a blacklight.

“When you look at my project from the outside, you will see elements that make Caitlin herself, such as her personality traits, interests, and even some of her past,” said Goncalves. “But when you lift the curtain and see what’s inside, you will see her disability shining and sparkling bright.”

“Overall, I love how the Coming Out Show encourages others to come out about topics like their disabilities,” added Goncalves. “You see stories of people who may have been through the same thing.”

This was the second time Joyce participated as a panelist for the Coming Out Show and had her story represented through art.

“Hannah put so much love into her piece to make it represent who I am and what I’ve been through,” said Joyce. “It’s a very healing process for me to see something that I struggle with turned into both a work of art and an educational experience for others.”