July Art Exhibit: 'Nuance, a Pride Exhibition'

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This month’s art exhibit in the newly named, Milk Gallery, is titled, Nuance. Curated by Lucien Vedego, Nuance is an invitation to celebrate the introspective aspects of Pride;

‘Nuance is a gallery show that doubles as a safe space. The intention behind Nuance is to showcase a variety of queer artists from various disciplines and create a space where they can feel free to highlight work that reflects the more subtle parts of themselves. What are your dreams, queer family? What are your needs and desires? Your fears? What has been overlooked for too long?’

Check out our interview with him below, and come see the exhibit all month at Alma Mater!

You’ve curated a beautiful exhibit with multiple local queer artists! How’d you find them all?

Thank you! I'm so happy to have all of their art in one place, mingling together. L.J. James and Cassandra Kuring responded to the call for artists put out on Instagram and it turned out that I was already following their work, but was unaware they were in the local area. I was delighted to find out they're Tacoma neighbors!

I've recorded Kellie Richardson's voice for a project with the Rainbow Center and was enlightened to her work with collage by Christina Butcher, whose poetry is being shown in the gallery. I've gotten to know Christina over the past year and we've cultivated a very unique and symbiotic relationship as movers and shakers.

Brandi Douglas is a regular at Honey, where I work, and her presence has always struck me. Her face came to mind when thinking about the show and I decided to do some digging and found out she is a poetess, as well as a myriad of other things! Her poem is displayed high up in the space so you have to "look up to" the truth of it.

Jody Poorwill was also recommended by Christina and I knew their photography via Instagram and for the shots they published in the book 'High Risk' from Sand and Gravel Press.

And last but not least, Ashley Faith, also known as the Ritual Artist, actually used to be my manager when I first moved to Washington! She's since picked up painting (or perhaps she has been at it for a while!) and it has been wonderful to watch her art evolution.

Pride has evolved quite a bit in the last several years. What does pride mean to you, and how does it correspond (or not correspond) with Nuance?

Pride has always been a difficult time for me because of what it brings up. I see all of the smiling faces at the parades and I'm happy for them, but I know I'm not going to be one of those people anytime soon. One, because, I'll experience sensory overload if I ever go to a parade. Two, because, I've been shamed for my sexuality and shoved back in the closet several times over the period of my life. Big companies like to capitalize on the positive-only, the parades, the rainbows, and without giving any attention to the origins of such things. Nuance grew out of noticing that pattern and finding that many others in the community have similar feelings. I wanted to highlight the idiosyncrasies that come with being in a queer body/queer spirit. I wanted to know what my community was really thinking about during this time. Pride, to me, means that you're staying true to yourself one day at a time, in spite of all the opposition, because you're dedicated to who you are and you refuse to compromise to make anyone comfortable.

Is there any Pride event you’re particularly looking forward to in the next couple of weeks?

I will unfortunately be missing a big chunk of it because I'm going on vacation, BUT, Sam Thuja has been painstakingly working on the Wellness and Justice Fair that's going to be held at Alma Mater on the 14th and I'm excited that all of the resources the lgbtq2ia+ community may not know they even need are going to be laid out there and for free.

INTERVIEW: Steve LaBerge

INTERVIEW: Steve LaBerge

If you’ve been to or walked by Alma Mater, you’ve seen what they call, The Slug. At night, it’s colorful and lit up, but its daytime presence is definitely not unassuming. With its glossy, yet textured exterior, and polk-a-dotted tentacles, the stools that live underneath this creature makes for a very curious spectator. And those who brave the interaction with the Slug, more often than not come out with some very rewarding and Instagram-worthy evidence. Its creator: Tacoma artist, Steve LaBerge.

Beginning June 10th, Alma Mater will house another one of Steve’s projects, called the TVs, which will also be an interactive piece created with twenty local artists. We’ve sat down with Steve to learn more about him and his work.

INTERVIEW: Lucien Vedego

INTERVIEW: Lucien Vedego

If you’ve been with us since Alma Mater’s first official day of business, you’ll likely be familiar with Lucien Vedego, if not already well acquainted from the various ways he engages in Tacoma’s creative community. He helped open our building as a barista and server at Honey Cafe, has participated and collaborated in many of our events and shows, is currently curating July’s art exhibit in conjunction with Tacoma’s Pride Month, and is currently holding an artist workshop series called Metamorphosis. Beyond that, he’s been wonderful to be around and learn from, and for that reason, we’ve decided to sit down and interview him, so you can get to know him, too!

New Spring Menus and Meet the Chefs!

New Spring Menus and Meet the Chefs!

Spring is in full force around around Alma Mater. We’ve spotted the bunny that lives in our parking-lot-turned-green-space and and the red clover in front of the building has bloomed in a vibrant display of crimson. The bees are hovering around the wildflowers on the roof and we’re all savoring the warmth of the sun showing its face here and there. As spring hits its stride, we’re embracing its fruits with new menus!

Not Just a Laughing Mat(t)er

As it is with most things in Tacoma right now, the stand-up comedy scene seems to be quickly on the up and up. Until very recently there have been a limited number of venues catering to or featuring stand up in the area - a simple truth that also implies that it's hard to get stage time as a local comedian. But with the emergence and cultivation of spaces like Alma Mater, which will be introducing a regular stand-up event Laughing Mater - produced and hosted by Jill Silva, Diante Neagle, Erin Crouch, Isaac Campbell-Smith, and Amanda Biddle the third Friday of every month, it seems like that all could change.