Up & Out: Coming Home was a two-day multidisciplinary art festival put on by the Youth Leadership Council that featured artwork to celebrate queer and trans youth. There was a live gallery, performance art, a panel and a fashion show. I attended Day 1 and was so impressed by the art at this event. The voices of these artists were so strongly displayed through their work and I am glad Up & Out gave them a platform to be featured.
All the components of the festival were incredible. It amazes me that everything there was created by youth. The amount of emotion that the work portrayed really resonated with me. I thought the performance piece was especially interesting. The piece titled 81316240am, consisted of Colie, the artist, lying on the floor blindfolded surrounded by various paint trays and a sign saying “paint me”. People were taking turns painting colorful pictures on her body while she lay there still. I was most curious about the title, I was able to talk to Colie after the show she told me the title represented the date and time she wrote the piece. I inquired about her inspiration behind the piece. She discussed that she wrote this piece to display the amount of influence people have based on the amount of vulnerability they are willing to display.
I appreciated her piece because I think influence and vulnerability are very powerful in their own forms as well as combined. I took her piece as using our own vulnerability as a form of influence. In leadership, sometimes we need to show our vulnerabilities in order to build meaningful relationships that will help us succeed. Over the past year I have been making it a point to be more vulnerable with the people around me. I used to see it as a sign of weakness, but my mindset has completely changed and now I see it as an ultimate sign of strength.
One other piece that stood out to me the most was one of the films that was shown titled Truthful Innards by Margaret Polzine. The film is supposed to represent four stages of physical trauma: depersonalization, isolation, anger and finally, healing. I remember feeling some discomfort while watching it which I believe was the intent. Polzine was able to reach out to the audience and make them feel these stages to a small extent. I remember thinking “Wow this is making me a bit uncomfortable but I can’t look away.” to which I then thought of how much discomfort Polzine had to feel in order to make something like that. The film itself was mesmerizing, there was so much color and movement involved which made it very visually stimulating and thought-provoking.
My thoughts turned to the concept that there is no growth in the comfort zone. Sometimes we need to experience discomfort in order to learn and grow. Truthful Innards gave me just small insight into the feelings behind the work but it also gave me an extreme amount of appreciation for Polzine, Colie and the rest of the artists who put all of these emotions and personal experiences into their art. Their art serves a purpose and I believe it reiterates the fact that it can be used as a tool to spread awareness on important issues.
Bella Gonzalez, Arts and Media Leadership Associate, is currently a junior at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a passion of pursuing a career in Public Relations. Bella is minoring in leadership and her leadership qualities are evidenced by holding positions such as the PR/Marketing Director of Her Campus Minnesota, Entertainment Coordinator for the Edina Art Fair and Leadership Intern at Intermedia Arts. She is also growing her event planning experience through her internship at the 50th & France Business Association where she works to organize and develop events to strengthen the organization’s public image. One of Bella’s top values is positivity which she embodies in both professional and personal settings by constantly keeping a smile and good attitude. She enjoys spending her free time attending concerts and other live performances.