The 3rd Annual C-U Pride Fest, put on by The UP Center of Champaign County, kicks off on September 7! The festival received Urbana Arts Grant support for the first time this year. We spoke with Kevin Bowersox-Johnson, President of The UP Center and Pride Fest Chair, to find out how this year’s events incorporate the arts.
What is the C-U Pride Fest?
September 7-9, 2012 the Champaign County community will celebrate its 3rd Annual Pride Festival. The festival is presented by The UP Center of Champaign County in partnership with 88 Broadway and Fluid Events. The purpose of C-U Pride Fest is to celebrate the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer, and ally community and the contributions of its members to Champaign County. To learn more about the festival, our performers, vendors, sponsors, and schedule, please visit our Web site at http://unitingpride.org or our Facebook page.
How is the C-U Pride Fest incorporating the arts into this year’s festival?
The C-U Pride Festival would not be the amazing festival it is without the arts. Thanks to the Urbana Business Association (UBA) and Urbana Public Arts Program, The UP Center is able to bring in more musical, theatrical, comical, and overall entertaining performers than ever before. This year, we have addd a third stage outside — providing us with the opportunity to showcase the talents of singers/songwriters, musicians, spoken word artists, theatre groups, comedians, and more. Performances include artists such as Jariko (American Ido’s Jared Yates), Stephen Leonard, Milk N Cookies, Desafinado, Dawna Nelson & The Impalas, Dirty Feathers, Illini Contraband, Stigma, T.R.U.T.H. and more.
The festival also spotlights local art as vendors as well. We have over 30 vendors, many of which are local artists displaying and selling their artwork.
What role do the arts play within the LGBTQA community? Why are they important?
As with any community, the arts play an important role for the LGBTQA community. Many members of our community struggle in coming out to others, or even themselves. Coming to terms with one’s own sexual orientation or gender identity can be scary and emotionally overwhelming. The arts provide an outlet where individuals and groups can explore and express who they are as members of our community in a manner that is often times both productive and healing.