QAF’s federal funding cut by $44,000: How you can help

QAF’s federal funding was cut by $44,000, without warning or explanation, just 3 months before the festival is due to start. We have asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage through a twitter campaign to restore our funding  – and it seems to be working! He’s promised to take a second look at our file. We urgently need support on twitter, showing the minister that there is public support for queer arts.


1. URGENT: Help our Twitter campaign reach far and wide.
Our tweets have already started to have an effect. The Minister has responded with a tweet: “to get my staff to take a second look at the file and see why it was not approved”

So, we now have a less then 24-hr window to get out as much twitter support as possible. If you’re on twitter, please tweet something like:

@JamesMoore_org- please restore @CdnHeritage funding to @QAFVancouver! #artsfunding


@JamesMoore_org- rétablir s.v.p. le financement @Patrimoinecdn de @QAFVancouver! #artsfunding

Follow us @

2. Mail a letter.
Yes, snail mail. Actual hand-written letters from concerned constituents get more traction than online “armchair advocacy”- and you don’t have to pay for a stamp if you’re in Canada! Address:

Hon. James Moore
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

3. Like and share our posts on Facebook.
Connect with us @

4. Donate.
We need your support now more than ever. Please become a monthly donor to the Pride in Art Society. 333 new monthly $10 donors could completely replace the funds lost in Heritage’s decision, and lay a strong, sustainable foundation for QAF’s future.

Pride in Art is a registered charity, and issues tax deductible receipts for all donations $20 or more. Haven’t claimed a charitable donation since 2007, or never? Then you may be eligible for the First Time Donor’s Super Credit! See more info on our Donate webpage.

5. Sign our online petition.

This is also posted all over our social media. Please share widely.

Thank you for your help in rallying against this funding cut. We are determined to go ahead with our 2013 festival, TransgressionNow. With the support of our audiences and artists, the queer communities and the public at large in the Vancouver and beyond, we will rise to this challenge!

Federal funding partially restored- but we still need your help

This year QAF lost $45,000 of federal funding, and regained $35,000 due to a groundswell of support. For the backstory, see our previous post.

Huge thank-yous to everyone who advocated on the festival’s behalf. This is YOUR victory!

QAF Programming and Legacy Fund

Help us fill QAF’s $10,000 funding gap, and build a Legacy Fund to weather any future storms.$25 pays for an accessibility pass to a show$250 lets a youth participate in one of our workshop programs$5000 lets us put on a show and helps us plan for the future

Donations of ALL sizes are gratefully accepted and deeply appreciated.

Click here to donate now.

Open letter to Minister James Moore: Please restore Canadian Heritage funding to PiA

Dear Minister Moore ;

The Pride in Art Society has just received word that Canadian Heritage is withdrawing funding for the 2013 Queer Arts Festival (QAF), 3 months before QAF is scheduled to open. This is a devastating and startling blow to the festival, as Canadian Heritage has funded QAF through the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program every year since 2010.

Canadian Heritage grants to QAF have grown steadily by about 10% annually; by 2012 the nearly $44,000 grant constituted almost half of our government funding, and 17% of our total budget. When asked the reasons for the cut, Canadian Heritage representatives declined to give any details. When further pressed to explain how we could improve for next year, representatives insisted there were no specific areas of concern. We find ourselves baffled, because by every other indication, QAF is stronger than ever.

Since incorporating as a not-for-profit in 2006, the QAF has grown 20-fold in size, and in that time has presented over 600 artists, produced more than 100 events, and incited the creation of dozens of new works in every artistic genre and attracted broad audiences including families of all kinds. QAF is BC’s only multi-disciplinary arts festival dedicated to celebrating queer art and artists, showcasing the unique creative expressions of the queer communities — people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirited and intersex.

We are the only festival of our kind in Canada to feature curated visual arts alongside the performing arts and workshops for youth and adults. Pride in Art’s report to Heritage for the 2012 festival showed significant increases in attendance, number of artists presented, government grants and support from the community. These increases are striking given the difficult economic climate, in which many respected arts organizations are showing declining numbers. Our 2013 Heritage application included testimonials from youth explaining that their participation in QAF workshops had given them the confidence to stand up to bullies, and from straight audience members saying QAF’s programming had given them “a stunningly powerful opportunity to connect with the anguish faced by the LGBT community in our own society and in those with much more restrictive laws and norms.”

The Vancouver Province praised QAF’s 2012 programming as “some of the most adventurous of any local festival.” QAF’s 2013 programming has generated unprecedented excitement, garnering grants from the Vancouver Foundation, the Hamber Foundation, the Martha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation, the Telus Community Board, and the Business for the Arts ArtsVest program. These are all highly competitive programs, all enthusiastically supporting QAF’s mandate and programming.

During a period when BC arts organizations have been struggling with declining grant revenue, Pride in Art’s government funding has been doubling annually, showing strong support for our mandate by the Canada Council, the BC Arts Council, BC Gaming and the City of Vancouver. Our 2013 grant assessment from the City read:

“The Assessment Committee considered the programming to be of high artistic merit, demonstrated by a strong curatorial vision in its presentation and through its recent efforts in commissioning new work. They noted a capable and committed staff and board team that was well-organized with good planning practices in place. The committee also recognized strong community support through its numerous volunteers and partnerships, as well as having strong community impact through its accessibility and outreach to queer youth.”

QAF has received similarly admiring support letters from many organizations and individuals which we would be happy to share with you, including Vancouver Opera, the Powell Street Festival, Roundhouse Community Centre, Rodney Sharman, Vancouver Symphony composer emeritus, UBC Professors David Metzer and Rena Sharon, and Leslie Dala, Vancouver Bach Choir Music Director, Associate Conductor of Vancouver Opera.

Our growth and development would not have been possible without the funding support of government organizations like Canadian Heritage. Thus, it was with shock and disappointment that Pride in Art received the news that Canadian Heritage was completely withdrawing its support for this year’s festival, with no clear rationale offered. The decision was made without warning, without any direct consultation at all between Canadian Heritage and Pride in Art staff. It comes at a time when the organization is well advanced in the planning process for this Summer’s festival, and ill-positioned to replace on short notice the funding that Canadian Heritage has traditionally provided. At a time when festival staff need to be focusing on production and publicity, primary efforts will have to be diverted to emergency fundraising, crippling the successful delivery of the festival. A 17% budget cut cannot be absorbed without making drastic choices, and will mean harsh cuts to staff and programming resulting in a corresponding loss of jobs to Canadian workers.

The Queer Arts Festival has a measurable and significant impact on the well-being of the LGBTI communities. By celebrating and showcasing the achievements of historic and contemporary LGBTI artists, we increase pride and self-esteem within the community, respect and understanding in the broader society. By providing a professional venue where LGBTI artists need not self-censor, we foster artistic excellence, because artists create their best work when they can express their whole selves freely — as one of our artists said, “QAF is the only place where I can be completely myself as an artist.” By providing arts training through workshops and arts admin opportunities through volunteer positions, we enhance job skills and self-empowerment for participants. The visibility and recognition created by QAF’s programming can literally save lives: it gives LGBTI youth positive role models, concrete evidence that they are not alone, and a much needed avenue for self-expression. As one of the pieces created in the youth visual arts workshop proclaims in red block letters: “ART SAVED ME.”

QAF also serves a crucial educational role for Canadian society in general, as we saw when a group of teenage boys wandered into the visual arts exhibition after their basketball game. They stood laughing and joking in front of Mary Taylor’s installation piece, “Homophobia Kills,” a hard-hitting work documenting dozens of homophobic murders. When PiA past-president (and high-school teacher) Jeffery Gibson engaged them in discussion about the piece, they grew thoughtful and quiet. A half hour later, they returned bringing several other friends, with whom they shared Gibson’s description of the work and its importance. Before our eyes, these youth had transformed from bullies to advocates: concrete evidence that Pride in Art’s work builds empathy.

PIA staff has sought, but to date has failed to obtain, a meeting with your office to seek a clear explanation of the rationale for this decision. After much thought and careful consideration, we are writing this open letter to you, Minister Moore, in order to ask, on behalf of the audiences and artists that we serve, why Canadian Heritage’s support of PIA has been withdrawn? What Canadian Heritage funding criteria has PiA been meeting for the past 3 years that it no longer meets?

We ask that you meet with us at your earliest possible convenience to discuss the Ministry’s rationale for withdrawing the funding that Canadian Heritage has provided, and that Pride in Art has relied upon for years, as well as the potential damage that this withdrawn funding threatens to inflict upon an organization that the Canadian public demonstrably supports. We also respectfully ask that you reconsider the decision and reinstate Heritage’s financial support for the Queer Arts Festival, so that we can continue to present relevant, transformative and groundbreaking art to Canadian audiences.


SD Holman
Artistic Director, Pride in Art Society

A Hustler’s Memoir and romance at the AGM!

AGM announcement

This will serve as official notification to Pride in Art Society members of the forthcoming Annual General Meeting to be held on TUESDAY APRIL 30, 2013 at the Roundhouse Community Centre, Room B, 181 Roundhouse Mews (Pacific and Davie). 7pm.
Exciting festival updates, sizzling financial reports, and getting down to official business! (last year there was candles, wine, chocolate and cheese… which is why some people said it was the most romantic AGM ever!)

Attendance at the AGM is a key factor to some of our funders, so you can help support queer art in Vancouver just by coming to a party (with a little bit of meeting thrown in). Come hear about the new developments at Pride in Art, including what’s around the corner for our 2013 Queer Arts Festival, TransgressionNow.

Membership renewal and sign-up 7:00-7:15
Reports and election of the board 7:15-8:00
Party 8:00-9:00

Hope to see you there!
 Writing Workshop with Amber Dawn
TONIGHT, Friday April 12th, is the launch party of Amber Dawn’s latest book, “How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir.” If you can go, you should! Check it out. If you can’t make it, after feeling sorry for yourself you can purchase the book online… and you can also look forward to her writing workshop and literary event at this year’s QAF!

“Tough Language & Tender Wisdoms: A Memoir Writing Workshop for Trangressive Voices”
This workshop invites participants to write under-told and boundary-pushing stories from their personal experience, and to develop strategies to creating safe and celebratory spaces for these stories to be heard.

Whether participants are interested in formally writing their memoirs or writing is a part of self-discovery, this workshop will offer foundational memoir writing exercises. Participants should come prepared to share, listen and take risks.

Amber will also be hosting an literary evening of reading from her new book, along with one or two other exceptional authors, with a discussion on telling “uncommon truths” and existing in unconventional queer communities. More details on this event to come.

Deadline to submit to PiA Community Art Show is May 1st!
The Queer Arts Festival is happy to again present the Pride in Art Community Show. In the Great Hall of the Roundhouse, outside the main Exhibition Hall, the PiA Community Show will exhibit visual art works by queer artists in any medium for the duration of the festival, July 24 – August 9.Queer Fruit

Thanks to our partnership with The Cultch and IGNITE!, we get to pluck the hottest young artists from the FRUIT BASKET to participate in a six-week project, developing a show for the Queer Arts Festival, where the youth will explore themes of sex and gender.Think performance art meets indie rock spiced with Burlesque dancers interjected with slam poetry. FRUIT FLAMBÉ will run July 29 & 30, 2013.

To get a sneak peek of this emerging talent, FRUIT BASKET happens Friday May 10, part of the IGNITE! – Vancouver’s largest youth arts festival!

IGNITE! features shows in music, dance, visual arts and much more- all created by local artists between the ages of 13-24. Presented by The Cultch, May 6-11, 2013.


Let’s be Social

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Buy Us a Coffee?
Like you, we believe passionately in the transformative power of the arts. We ask you to consider making a monthly donation of $10 — for less than the price of a weekly latte, you can make the magic happen.

Every donation of $20 or more annually will receive a charitable donation tax receipt.

Donate Now Through!

Keep us in the loop
If you’re involved in putting on a queer, artsy event- let us know about it!

New faces and gay pig-boys at Queer Arts Fest!

QAF welcomes new staff
The festival staff is growing! We have recently welcomed Meagan Thomas into the role of Administrative Assistant, and Kathy Atkins as our Volunteer Coordinator. Meagan is the Arts Director of CiTR radio, and a long time supporter of the arts. We are happy to have her on board!

Kathy is a former PiA Board Member and has been a featured visual artist at the festival as well. Her dedication to the festival now gets to shine as she corrals all of our enthusiastic volunteers. That’syou, right? Come on, you know you wanna! Email Kathy at
 George Stamos and Liklik Pik
For this month’s featured festival performer, we would like to introduce you to contemporary dancer and choreographer George Stamos. Coming from Montreal, George will be bringing his provocative duo piece, Liklik Pik, to QAF 2013.

Liklik Pik - photo by Johnny Ranger

Photo by Johnny Ranger
Liklik Pik is an intimate male dance duet emphasizing empowerment of the human body while following imaginative impulses and queer tangents along the way. George Stamos and his dance partner Dany Desjardins explore the animal urges in men, combining references to children’s stories, pets, lounge lizards, and gay “pig-boy” culture while toying with male sensuality in a body-based somatic score. July 267:30pm, in the Roundhouse Performance Centre.

The following day he is offering a Contemporary Dance Improvisation and Technique workshop. Says George, “The way I teach is designed to develop the critical eye and awareness of methods for creating spontaneous, mindful movement in performance. This includes teaching the student how to auto tune their senses and engage their intellect and body systems. I am committed to providing a workshop environment that is a safe, mature, and queer place to learn skills and strengthen abilities.”July 27, 2-5pm.
Queer Public Art
QAF Artistic Director SD Holman’s newest work, BUTCH: Not like the other girls, will have 20 select portraits displayed as public art in transit shelters throughout Vancouver. So be on the lookout for some sexy Butches at a bus shelter near you. If you see one, snap a photo and share with us on Facebook!

A gallery exhibition of BUTCH: Not like the other girls will be shown with different pieces at The Cultch April 9 – 25, 2013, with an Art Party! on April 10, 6 – 8pm. Consider yourself invited!

 Poet Recognized
Canadian poet Rachel Rose‘s latest book, Song and Spectacle, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, presented by the Publishing Triangle.

Song and Spectacle is the third collection by Rose, whose craft as a lyricist intersects with a deep notion of the world around her. Her words provoke an awareness of one’s self and, at the same time, create a sense of intimacy with the greater world.
Rose is the librettist for Canada’s first lesbian opera, When the Sun Comes Out, premiering at this year’s festival, August 5, 7, and 9.

January 12 Newsletter

Baby It’s Cold Outside…
… but things are warming up here at QAF.

Festival dates announced:
July 31 – August 18, 2012

28 weeks to go!
That might feel like a long way off, but soon enough the Queer Arts Festival will be upon us, presenting three incredible weeks of visual art exhibits, theatre, music, dance, and workshops. This year’s theme is ‘Random Acts of Queerness’- commemorating the centenary of experimental queer artist John Cage (1912-1992).

RaNDoM acTS oF QueeRNeSS

“Chance comes in here to give us the unknown.”
– John Cage

What’s in a theme? And who was this John Cage guy? An experimental, multidisciplinary artist, Cage is best known for championing Indeterminacy; a philosophy that opens up artistic practice to include the random as a way of radically breaking with tradition, convention and habit. Cage said,“Indeterminacy in art is made not as an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living.”

Cage’s multidisciplinary artistic practice, pioneering approach, and openly queer life elegantly exemplify QAF’s mandate and values. For this year’s theme QAF curators encourage artists to explore indeterminate elements in their work, whether it be Indeterminacy of Process, Indeterminacy of form or Indeterminacy of identity; perhaps risking the effects of random juxtaposition. What kinds of systems, symbols or strategies will you harness?

Visual Art Submission Deadlines

Wanna be a featured QAF artist?
Then you need to submit your work! The deadline for the curated art show, working with the theme of ‘Random Acts of Queerness’, is March 1. The deadline for the community art show, in which pieces do not need to be themed, is May 1. (please note the earlier date)
To learn more, and to apply, click HERE.

What is QAF?
Featuring a curated visual art exhibit, community art show, and three exciting weeks of workshops and live performances, the Queer Arts Festival is Vancouver’s multidisciplinary arts festival celebrating queer art and artists.

A taste of what’s to come
Boulez contra Cage dramatizes the friendship and conflict between composers John Cage and Pierre Boulez and Screaming Weenie brings us Turkey in the Woods.
Don’t miss the workshop performance of Canada’s first lesbian opera, When the Sun Comes Out; transgender pioneer Kate Bornstein performing her landmark solo show, On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us; and dancer/ choreographer Noam Gagnon’s astonishing piece, Thank You, You’re Not Welcome.

Save the Date:
The Opening Night Art Party is Tuesday July 31, 2012 at the Roundhouse Community Center.

New girl in the house
QAF welcomes Flora Ware, a Capilano Arts & Entertainment Management Student and currently the society’s Communications Intern for the spring term. A queer artist in her own right, Flora is a Soul/Pop/Jazz singer and Burlesque performer. Check out her website HERE

February 2012 Newsletter

Queer Arts Festival
celebrating queer art & artists
July 31 – August 18, 2012

Birds do it, bees do it…
February love-letter

Spreadin’ the L.O.V.E.

You know you love us. We know you love us. Make it ‘official’ by attending our AGM in April.
So mark Tuesday April 10 down, because you have a hot date with us.

Exciting festival updates, sizzling financial reports, and getting down to official business! Afterwards there will be eating, drinking, and discussion with your fave queer artists and board members. You know you wanna!

QAF receives commissioning grants for ground-breaking lesbian opera

We are pleased to announce that QAF is the recipient of two commissioning grants from the Canada Council and the BC Arts Council, to create Canada’s first lesbian opera.

When the Sun Comes Out, written by composer Leslie Uyeda and librettist Rachel Rose, is being presented in a workshop performance on Thursday August 2, 2012 at QAF. Starring soprano Teiya Kasahara and baritone Joel Klein, this compelling new chamber opera is being directed by Robert McQueen. The fully-staged performance will premier at QAF 2013.
Deadline reminder:

Artists who wish to submit a proposal to be considered for the Curated Art Exhibit, working with the theme Random Acts of Queerness, must apply before March 1, 2012.

Community Art show deadline is May 1, and works do not need to be theme-related.

Please click HERE for instructions and more information.

Friends with benefits:

Do you want to help the Queer Arts Festival operate like a well-oiled machine? Like getting to see shows for free?

We need volunteers to help before, during and after the festival in varied capacities such as: publicity team, gallery greeters, ushers, delivery drivers, and tear down.

Get more info HERE.

Introducing QAF 2013: TransgressionNow. Meet the Curators and more…

Queer Arts Festival 2013: TransgressionNow
July 24 – August 9

Welcome back! Summer may seem a long ways off, but the Festival team is already in full swing. So mark your calendars, because from July 24 – August 9, another incredibly diverse, cutting-edge, and exciting Queer Arts Festival is coming to Vancouver!

About this year’s theme:
Queer art and politics have always included notions of transgression but in the media age ideas of transgression have changed radically. What we once saw as transgressive is now commonplace when the internet can put any manner of visual and digital material on everyone’s screen in seconds. But the digital age is also embedded in one of the most conservative social environments in many decades creating many dichotomies and contradictions. TransgressionNow looks at where Queer artists still transgress social, gender, and political boundaries and what that looks like now.

QAF is thrilled to announce the curators of this year’s Visual Art Exhibit are Paul Wong and Glenn Alteen.

Paul Wong is a Canadian multimedia artist. An award-winning artist, curator, and organizer of public interventions since the mid-1970s, Wong is known for his engagement with issues of race, sex, and death.

Glenn Alteen is a Vancouver-based curator, writer, and director of the grunt gallery, established in East Vancouver in 1984. We can hardly wait to see the artists and work they bring to the festival.
 Community Partnership profile
We are excited to be partnering with The Cultch and the IGNITE! Youth festival this year in a unique outreach activity involving some of the talented youth. After IGNITE!, select performers will be chosen for a theatre project to develop and stage a show, Fruit Flambé, as part of the Queer Arts Festival.

Auditions for IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival 
Do you know some teens who love to perform? Or maybe it’s you! Auditions are open for the 2013 IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival.

With themed shows including a night for music, word, dance, collaborations and Fruit Basket- a variety show about gender, sex and sexuality – the festival is looking for a wide range of artists. Please come by and audition – you name it, we want to see it!The IGNITE! Arts festival takes place from May 6-11 at The Cultch.The deadline to apply is March 1st.
To audition send an email to
auditions@igniteyouthfest.caOpera Magic

Many of you will remember Teiya Kasahara, the beguiling soprano who played the role of Solana in When the Sun Comes Out, the QAF-commissioned lesbian opera written by Leslie Uyeda and Rachel Rose at last year’s festival.She will be returning to play that role in the fully-staged performance of the opera this year, with three performances August 5, 7 and 9!Next month she will be performing the iconic role of Queen of the Night in Vancouver Opera’s upcoming production of The Magic Flute. We are pleased to announce our community partnership with Vancouver Opera this year, and their support of our production of When the Sun Comes Out.

This original production was conceived in 2007 with the guidance of First Peoples’ Cultural Council and an advisory group of First Nations artists. This re-imagining of Mozart’s classic is set in the timeless Coast Salish realm.

Six performances-
March 9 -17.
Buy Us a Coffee?
Like you, we believe passionately in the transformative power of the arts. We ask you to consider making a monthly donation of $10 — for less than the price of a weekly latte, you can make the magic happen.

Every donation of $20 or more annually will receive a charitable donation tax receipt.

PiA Annual General Meeting

The Pride in Art Society’s 2011 Annual General Meeting on April 19 was well-attended by board members, staff, artists and volunteers.

Pride in Art is pleased to welcome Arli Nikkel as our newest board member! Returning board members have stepped up to new roles in the Executive: Joel Klein as president, and Sherri Charters as Vice-President. Andrea Hector is staying on as Secretary/Treasurer.

PiA would like to express special thanks to Jeff Gibson, who stepped down from the board this AGM, after many years of devoted service. Jeff has taken part in Pride in Art since 1998, and been our president since 2006. He will be sorely missed on the board, but we are very happy that he will continue his work with QAF as a curator for the Visual Arts Exhibition.

PiA Annual General Meeting

The Pride in Art Society’s 2011 Annual General Meeting on April 19 was well-attended by board members, staff, artists and volunteers.

Pride in Art is pleased to welcome Arli Nikkel as our newest board member! Returning board members have stepped up to new roles in the Executive: Joel Klein as president, and Sherri Charters as Vice-President. Andrea Hector is staying on as Secretary/Treasurer.

PiA would like to express special thanks to Jeff Gibson, who stepped down from the board this AGM, after many years of devoted service. Jeff has taken part in Pride in Art since 1998, and been our president since 2006. He will be sorely missed on the board, but we are very happy that he will continue his work with QAF as a curator for the Visual Arts Exhibition.