TRUE Colors - Art Exhibit shows a full spectrum of ECU community
By: Jackie Drake - ECU News Services
Their faces look out from the walls, captured in crisp black and white, smiling, laughing, welcoming, challenging. They are women, men, friends, couples, families. They are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight – and Pirates all.
These faces are part of a new art exhibit featuring 23 photographs of members and supporters of the LGBT community at East Carolina University. The photos – mostly of students but also of alumni, staff and fans – were taken by ECU photography students who volunteered for the project.
“True Colors: Celebrating the Spectrum of Sexual and Gender Diversity,” is open through Oct. 31 in honor of LGBT History Month. The project is a collaboration between the LGBT Resource Office within Student Affairs, and the School of Art and Design.
An opening reception was held Oct. 5 at Mendenhall Student Center, where most of the photos are on display. Some are also at the Brody School of Medicine.
“This exhibit is a vivid photographic journey honoring the rich diversity of our community at ECU,” said Mark Rasdorf, associate director for the LGBT Resource Office.
“There are gay folks all around you – in your dorms, in your labs, studying with you – and we're pretty much just like you,” says photo subject Dr. Jesse Peel, a retired psychiatrist based in Atlanta and a long-time supporter of the LGBT Resource Office at ECU.
A Martin County native and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he supports efforts like this at ECU so that he can have a positive impact on the place he grew up.
“I am so impressed with the courage of these young men and women. I cannot imagine being so out and open when I was their age,” Peel said. “So when they invited me to participate in this exhibit I was honored to join them.”
Rasdorf worked with Angela Wells, assistant professor of photography, to get the project started. The collaboration was a natural fit, he said. The exhibit was funded in part by the Department of Student Involvement & Leadership Co-Curricular Collaborations program. The frames were done by Shenandoah Graphics and Framing. Photos are accompanied by personal statements from the subjects. Another part of the exhibit features biographies of LGBT role models.
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