Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Creative Campus hosts GLBTQA art


Art has often been credited with having the ability to speak without words and break down barriers caused by political, social or religious differences.

This is the objective behind Breaking Boundaries, a student-centered art show supporting the GLBTQA community at the University of Alabama. Creative Campus is currently accepting submissions for the show.

The exhibit is open to all students of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, as well as allies of the community. The art media range from painting and photography to music and poetry. However, the message shares a common thread.

Creative Campus will display the exhibit April 4-15 at the Alabama Art Kitchen studio on University Boulevard in downtown Tuscaloosa. On April 12, Creative Campus will host the Breaking Boundaries reception from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Alabama Art Kitchen studio.

“We’re giving them the creativity to do whatever they want to do,” said Leigh Thomas, the Creative Campus project leader behind Breaking Boundaries. “What we want is to give students a safe place to express their feelings in what can sometimes be an unaccepting environment.”

Thomas, a first-year graduate student, approached Creative Campus with the idea a year ago and has watched her idea become a reality.

“Whether you’re gay or straight, everyone agrees with art,” Thomas said. “This is a chance for us to come together and foster some kind of open dialogue, and doing it through art makes it a more approachable topic,”

With a hope of creating a safe haven for student expression, Thomas stressed the message behind Breaking Boundaries was not a political one, but rather one of unity.

“This isn’t about ‘I agree’ or ‘I don’t,’” Thomas said. “We’re just saying, it’s art, and everyone can appreciate that.”

Wendy Rawlings, a creative writing professor, was asked to participate in the exhibit.

“I’m excited as a faculty member to participate,” Rawlings said. “So often the discussion on sexual orientation is really political. This seemed like a real groundbreaking event to me because it really is about art.”

Rawlings will be reading from her book, “The Agnostics” at the April 12 reception at 7:30 p.m. Her novel, released in 2007, is about her personal experience with family members who are part of the gay and lesbian community.

“I felt completely alone,” said Rawlings, whose mother “came out” late in her life, when Rawlings was 25 years old. “One of the reasons I told my story was because I knew that other people may relate.”

And whether the stories and messages expressed in the Breaking Boundaries exhibit are relatable to every viewer or not, Rachel Hill, a senior majoring in studio art and a member of Creative Campus, said the exhibit is also about being open-minded and doing so through art.

“I really hope that this exhibit does exactly what it says it will and breaks boundaries,” Hill said. “I want people to change their perspective and not judge a book by its cover. And, even if just one person changes their mindset, then it’s worth it.”

Entries will be accepted until Friday, April 1. Submissions must be turned in at Maxwell Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. with a completed form. More information and the submission form can be found on the Creative Campus website,

For written entries, students may submit their poetry or prose via email to [email protected]. Full details can be found online at The top two works will be presented alongside Rawlings’ at the Breaking Boundaries reception.

“We are basically looking for any sort of LGBTQ related artwork, or an expression of who they are in the community,” Thomas said.

She reminds students that submissions are not limited to students of the gay and lesbian community.

“This is for the allies too, for those people who are straight, yet stand up for the rights of others,” she said.

Hill said it was a family member of gay orientation who pushed her to create her series “Glitter and Be Gay,” for the upcoming exhibit, and encouraged students to do the same.

“Life is about opportunities and seizing them, and being a part of something bigger than you,” she said. “This is an opportunity for students to express this and be part of that change.”


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