New York City’s Queer Art celebrated the winners of its two biggest annual awards on December 14.
The nonprofit organization is dedicated to the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists. Founded in 2009 by filmmaker Ira Sachs. Queer Art was born out of the need to recognize a generation of artists and audiences that have died during the HIV epidemic.
The poet, performer, and visual artist, Pamela Sneed, received the inaugural Black Queer Art Mentorship Award for Artists and Organizers.
“We have been and continue to be deeply moved by Pamela Sneed’s gift for moving all of us forward,” said award judges Maria Bauman, Felicita “Felli” Maynard, and Saeed Jones in a statement. It's “not only for her brilliance and accomplishments in the field of literary arts but also for her longstanding commitment to nurturing younger Black queer voices.”
Photographer Lola Flash received the 2021 Queer Art Prize for Sustained Achievement.
“We need to elevate Lola Flash right now, this year. A lot of nominees in ACT-UP are part of our history, but so much of that history and narrative is dominated still by wealthy white gay men. Lola Flash changes that dialogue. With their portraits of the queer community and of people of color, Flash’s photography is a legacy to our history, this time rewritten and inclusive,” shared awards judge Nancy Rodrigo.
Four additional artists, Anaïs Duplan, Heesoo Kwon, Le’Andra LeSeur, and Moises Salazar, have been named as the finalists of the 2021 Queer Art Prize for Recent Work.
Each winner takes home a $10,000 cash prize. All three awards are made possible with support from HBO, according to a press release.
These artists were honored at The Whitney Museum of American Art at an event hosted by poet and performer Candystore and activist and drag artist Junior Mintt.
After the ceremony, a cabaret was organized by the hosts and special guest performers.
“I am particularly moved that this year’s winners for both awards are individuals who also happen to be beloved mentors here at Queer Art, both of whom — Pamela Sneed and Lola Flash — have made a significant impact on our community, helping to shape the values that hold us together and that continue to guide us forward,” said Queer Art executive director Travis Chamberlain.
“The tremendous scope of their contributions to queer culture, queer wellbeing, and uplifting Black queer community and excellence cannot be overstated and resounds ever-more loudly with each passing year,” Chamberlain added.