Category Archives: William Way Gay Community Center


William Way LGBTQ Community CenterWilliam Way LGBTQ Community Center Group Art Show: Gina Giles, Thom Duffy, Lance Pawling

Thom DuffyGina Giles, and Lance Pawling are the winners of the 2013 William Way LGBT Community Center Juried Art Competition and their exciting and diverse bodies of work will be on display this September and October in the gallery.

Thom Duffy will display beautifully created watercolor still lifes on paper featuring an autumn theme. Gina Giles has exhibited in The Plastic Club, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks, Hicks Art Center Gallery, and more and will display photographic works. Pawling is a performance and installation artist known for his work with the improvisational theater group Dumpsta PlayersLance Pawling’s found-object sculptures ‘provide the viewer with a magnetic vounce through wonder. Evocative, often disturbing and equally alluring, his work redefines our ideas of refuse.’ The show will be on view in the gallery from through October 31, 2014.

The group art show at William Way LGBTQ Community Center presents three of Philadelphia’s most interesting and influential artists that were chosen from the 2013 Juried Community Art Show. I believe these artists are influential because they each are living their own authentic artistic self-actualized selves and influencing Philadelphia’s artistic culture.

Gina Giles is documenting the drag scene in Philadelphia, a performance art with a long Philadelphia history, through candid and backstage photographs. Thom Duffy is a fine painter who created a whole new body of work, beautiful Autumnal watercolors in a variety of sizes. Thom also operates a successful business, Thom Duffy Massage Therapy LLC, ‘offering a full array of therapeutic massage services for men and women to achieve specific targeted goals and physical well-being’. His job is to make you feel better. Lance Pawling, who’s day job is at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, is influential because of his fearless performances in burlesque shows as well as his visual art skills. I caught the latest performance of The Weird Beard Review, an all male burlesque review, at L’Tage and watched the man with the Dali moustache transform from art nerd to bearded lady sex bomb before my eyes.

October is Gay History Month and a lot of gay history is being made around the world. ‘LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is observed during October in the United States, to include National Coming Out Day on October 11.[1] In the United Kingdom, it is observed during February, to coincide with a major celebration of the 2005 abolition of Section 28.’ (Wikipedia).

The group art show at William Way LGBTQ Community Center is part of gay history now and I believe that the main takeaway is that ‘gay art’ is art just like LGBTQ people are people. Living an authentic life with a freedom of spirit and nature just feels right and brings happiness to our lives.

Read my interviews with each of these artists on DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog.

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Twelve @ Cafe Twelve – Mina Smith-Segal & Morris Klein

Twelve @ 12th Street Coffee - Mina Smith-Segal & Morris Klein

Morris Klein, Giovanni’s Room, photograph.

Twelve @ 12th Street Coffee - Mina Smith-Segal & Morris Klein

Mina Smith-Segal, Giovanni’s Room, watercolor.

Inspired by an art show at the William Way Gay Community Center of gay hang-outs which are no longer around – remember the Allegro?  The art power couple, Mina leads a workshop at the Philadelphia Sketch Club and Morris is VP of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, decided to create an art show of 12 locations in the modern day Gayborhood of Philly with Mina creating paintings and Morris shooting photos of the same location such as Woodies, Sisters, Giovanni’s Room and more.  Mina’s liquidy paintings paired with Morris’ filter-ific watercolor-like photos capture the essence of the famous gay district.  Bet you didn’t know there’s along history of Philly being in the forefront of the gay civil rights movement – the first gay civil rights march was held in Philly and an historic marker is at Independence Mall to prove it.

Twelve @ 12th Street Coffee - Mina Smith-Segal & Morris Klein

The HIV Clinic, Mina Smith-Segal & Morris Klein.

Mina Smith Segal @ 12th Street Cafe

Woodies Bar, Mina Smith-Segal, watercolor.

Twelve @ 12th Street Coffee - Mina Smith-Segal & Morris Klein

Woodies Bar, Morris Klein, photograph.

The staff at 12th Street Coffee told DoN this is the best art show they’ve had to date, with 24 images this is truly an historic exhibit commemorating Philly’s famous gay neighborhood.  Located next to the 12th Street Gym it’s a great spot to take in the art, sip some coffee and check out the hot boys coming and going from the gym.  Thanks Mina & Morris, your idea is inspiring, brave and beautiful.

Eli VandenBerg @ The William Way Art Gallery

The William Way Gay Community Center for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Community seeks to encourage, support, and advocate for the well-being and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities through service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming.  The lobby of the center at 1315 Spruce Street is an art gallery currently hosting an outstanding one-person show of drawings in pen and ink and woodcut prints by Eli VandenBerg.  The art is contemporary in style with topical themes of gender identity, cultural confusion and urban isolation.  The strong, expressive lines impressed DoNthe dark, sloppy drips serving to express the emotional context of the exhibit, which runs through 2/27. 

The staff at the center is very friendly and helpful and provides important services not just to the gay community but also to the benefit of all who need help, guidance and support.  The Barbara Gittings library is a unique source of information relating to gay history.

VandenBerg has shown in international and national exhibitions including the National Queer Arts Festival. His work has also appeared in books and magazines including the anthology “Self-Organizing Men: Conscious Masculinities in Time and Space.” VandenBerg will exhibit drawings from two series: “Passing” which explores gender transition and “Place and Home” which focuses on discovering and rediscovering origins. (WayGay website) 

eli vandenberg

When You’re Sitting, Spread Your Legs. Take Up Space.”  Eli VandenBerg @ William Way Gallery. 

eli vandenberg

New Body, Pholio“, woodcut, Eli VandenBerg

 eli vandenberg 

Eli VandenBerg @ William Way Community Center Art Gallery.