Monday, February 26

Celebrate the LGBTQ community with art and other free entertainment

An abundance of no-cost artistic events is available in Burlington this weekend.

Vice + Vulnerability

Photographer Brandy Swartz is the program director at the Art Center of Burlington, and on Saturday, May 14, this month’s installment of Vice Night spotlights Swartz’s photography in a solo event called “Vice + Vulnerability: Photography By Brandy Swartz.”

The topic is, loosely, the LGBTQ community in Iowa and Illinois.

“Our goal with Vice Nights is to focus on topics that have different opinions so we can open up conversation in the community through art,” Swartz said.

Swartz photographed 12 models, each person representing a different color of the Pride flag with their own personal story of LGBTQIA+.

The 12th model is a composite of the 11 Pride colors.

The original rainbow flag became a symbol of the gay community when San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker introduced it in 1978 with the rainbow spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet to represent life, healing, new ideas, prosperity, serenity and spirit.

The flag since has gone through several revisions and now includes black and brown for LGBTQ people of color, with white, blue and pink representing the transgender community.

“I wanted to do an editorial-style shoot, the contrast being that each one of the models has written a letter to their younger self, and each photo will be displayed with their personal letter to their younger self,” Swartz said. “Every one of these humans has their own story of their journey of finding their identity.”

Swartz’ shows consist of photos printed on fabric; last year’s was on velvet, this year it’s silk.

Vice Night wasn’t called that when it began in May 2021.

“It started because I wanted to do a show called Vice and Vulnerability,” Swartz said. “The show went really well, so (then-ACB director) Tammy McCoy contacted me asking if I had any ideas on how to continue shows that were similar to mine, because it drew and audience that doesn’t normally come to the Art Center.”

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