Saturday, March 2, 2024

Queer|Art to be trans led for the first time ever!

Queer|Art, New York City’s home for the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists, has announces a new era of shared leadership for the organization.

After six years as QA’s Executive Director, Travis Chamberlain has accepted a new position as Director of Washington Project for the Arts, one of the oldest alternative arts spaces in the country.

As part of this transition, Queer|Art will become trans-led for the first time as Programs and Operations Director Rio Sofia and Director of Development L Marmon become QA’s interim Co-Directors. Developed in close partnership with Staff and Board, this move towards a Co-Director model has been in progress for the last 18 months.

“Queer|Art connects and empowers LGBTQ+ artists across generations and disciplines through opportunities and resources, driven by an urgent need to address the lack of institutional and economic support for queer creative work,” Board President Nelson Santos notes. “United by values of collective care and creative resilience, we are an artist-led organization facing a critical juncture as we work to better align our organizational structure and programmatic priorities with our values. The board is thrilled to elevate Rio Sofia and L Marmon into new roles as interim Co-Directors, leading us through the unique opportunities presented by this moment of transition and growth.”

Rio and L bring their significant expertise and experience to lead our organization in collaboration with a dedicated team of four part-time artist-administrators and an active 11-member Board of Directors. Rio was hired as Queer|Art’s second full-time employee in 2018, and in this time has made significant strides in elevating Queer|Art’s alumni network towards being an active, mutually supportive community of artists. L was hired in late 2021 as a freelance Development Associate, and quickly rose to become Queer|Art’s third full-time staff member and Director of Development. They bring a focus on capacity building for the organization’s financial and operational sustainability while bolstering fundraising efforts across all fronts.

L and Rio are excited and hopeful about the work that lies ahead, noting: Queer|Art’s mission statement currently reads that the organization will “create a diverse and vibrant community through the support of LGBTQ+ art and artists across generations and disciplines.” Thanks to the guidance and leadership of Ira Sachs and Travis Chamberlain, that community now exists.

As interim Co-Directors, they are honored for the chance to work with Queer|Art’s Staff, Board, and artists in collectively envisioning and enacting QA’s future for the community. Together, they are driven by a desire to advance the values of shared leadership within the organization’s culture; to secure a sustainable financial future for the organization; and to support artists in their totality.

Interim Co-Director, Programs and Operations Rio Sofia is a visual artist and community organizer, leading QA as its Programs and Operations Director since 2020 through initiatives in service of queer and trans communities. Her expertise in organizing, grassroots fundraising, and inspiring community action through creative social media engagement has helped QA to dramatically increase its reach to LGBTQ+ artists and audiences more than six times over since she joined QA in 2018. Her skills as grassroots organizer also directly support QA’s community-building efforts and help create lively platforms for celebrating all aspects of queer culture. Rio introduced tenets of mutual aid into the organization’s DNA, ensuring that Queer|Art’s programs support artists holistically by creating emergency funds, increasing honoraria, and introducing in-person artist retreats. Her political engagement as an artist also continues to have a profound impact on QA’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice initiatives and coalition building efforts among other nonprofit and grassroots organizations. 

Interim Co-Director, Finance and Development L Marmon is an arts administrator and performing artist with over a decade of experience in fundraising strategy, grants management, and donor relations for performing and presenting arts organizations. Their collaborative approach to fundraising and financial management was developed through professional programs, including CUNY’s Leadership Accelerator; extensive performance and production experience, including work with Playwrights Horizons and the Kennedy Center; and serving as a fundraising consultant and staffer for organizations including the Museum of the City of New York, annually managing a portfolio of $3.5M+ from foundation and government sources and securing over $1M in COVID relief grants. L brings a systems management mindset to QA’s day-to-day financial operations and long-term financial planning, focusing on capacity building initiatives and empowering fellow staffers to engage in fundraising outreach and financial management.

About Queer|Art

Queer|Art connects and empowers LGBTQ+ artists across generations and creative disciplines. Founded in 2009, we are an artist-led and community-centered organization—united by shared values of collective care, creative resilience, and the preservation and advancement of queer legacies and queer futures. The devastating loss of a generation of artists to the ongoing AIDS pandemic has created a profound longing for cross-generational connections, mentorship, and community. Queer|Art serves as a ballast against this loss, seeking to highlight and address a continuing fundamental lack of both economic and institutional support for our community. Ongoing programmatic initiatives include: an annual cornerstone program, the year-long Queer|Art|Mentorship and a wide array of awards, grants, and offerings that provide direct support to LGBTQ+ artists.

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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