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WashU celebrates LGBTQ+ experiences through “Joy as Resistance” art show

Artist Eloise Harcourt ’25, shown here in front of her work “Lila,” received lots of ecstatic compliments and congratulations at the opening of “The Queer Experience: Joy as Resistance” Art Exhibition on Friday, Oct. 20. 

Opening night for “The Queer Experience: Joy as Resistance” art exhibition was held at Stix House on Oct. 20.  

Curated by WashU students Chethan Chandra ‘26, Sophie Lin ‘26, and Aspen Schisler ‘26, the multimedia art exhibit showcases work by queer, trans, and other WashU students who want to highlight and uplift the LGBTQIA+ experience.  

“These poems chronicle the pain, beauty, and joy I’ve found in the process of exploring and expanding my gender identity,” said poet Will Armstrong ‘25, whose work “Reaching Toward the Light” is on display. “They document my journey of learning how to recognize the light within myself and let it shine out into the world.” 

With 27 artists’ works on display—including paintings, sculptures, photography, collages, poetry, and more from both named and anonymous artists—the show intimately explores themes of the body, religion, love, and the home, and expand outwards to larger analyses of society. 

“For the show, we hoped to create a space where queer WashU students could express their identities in a way that was genuine and safe. We wanted artists and viewers alike to be able to experience, and connect over, the joy that is inherent in queer communities and identities,” Lin said.  

She explained that the show was “everything I could’ve hoped for.”  

“One of my favorite audience reactions was when someone told me they hadn’t ever seen so many queer folks in one place outside of Pride,” said Lin.  

In tune with the theme of the show, the joy in Stix House was palpable as artists and their fans reveled in the opportunity to engage with the art that embraces, celebrates, and explores the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community.  

“We’re all navigating the endless struggle and the eternal blessing of constantly trying to bring ourselves into the light,” Armstrong said. “Everything I’ve written is an attempt to capture both the suffering and beauty in that process, to cling to the joy that comes with breaking free.” 

The exhibit is open and available for viewing at the Stix House on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Nov. 14. Closing night will be held in conjunction with a special Civic Café event, to invite discussion about the themes of “The Queer Experience.”