The University Seminar “Coming Out” hosted the 6th annual Coming Out Show, a celebration of coming out stories from Arcadia community members, on April 19. The event featured more than 30 pieces of art representing coming out narratives of Arcadia students, staff, and locals.
Created by students, the art installations tackled a range of topics, including sexuality, gender identity, addiction, and abuse. The exhibit featured a variety of artistic mediums, such as collages, sculptures, and paintings. Other students presented their subject’s story through live performances, original songs, and spoken word poetry.
Caitlin Joyce ’20 had her coming out story on living with a disability represented through an interactive sculpture made by Ev Smith ’19. The sculpture featured an outline of a person with two layers. The outside layer, made of wood, was designed with inscriptions such as “But you don’t look disabled.” Visitors could lift up the outside panel to reveal a glass skeleton, reflecting the truth that not all disabilities are visible.
“The Coming Out Show not only allowed me to embrace my identity through the incredible art piece Ev created, but also brought awareness of my disorder to everyone who attended,” said Joyce. “While my disability has always felt like a competing force in my life, it was healing for me to see my experiences with it being honored.”
Similar interactive pieces encouraged visitors to reflect on their own life story and identity. One student created a “gender test,” through which participants could reflect on societal gender roles versus their individual expressions of gender identity. Another asked visitors to look in a mirror and write one thing they loved about themselves in an exercise of body positivity.
The exhibit culminated in an interactive “web of identities,” where visitors could describe themselves on the wall and contribute to a visual representing intersectionality.