Georgia’s art community has always been intertwined with the visions and labor of queer creators. But their contributions across various art forms have not always been visible, especially during the early twentieth century when homosexuality was socially stigmatized and broadly outlawed in the United States, as it was in Georgia until 1998. Yet even during this period, LGBTQ+ artists created spaces and contexts for expression, whether in bars and clubs, homes, or social networks where queer creators could share their visions and establish a sense of community.

As the gay liberation movement arose in Georgia, LGBTQ+ art became more open and political: performers and writers fought for their rights to self-expression, designers created visual messaging against homophobic censorship, and queer artists reflected on their own silencing. Archival materials from the 1960s and 1970s onward document major events in LGBTQ+ art and space-making, like early Gay Pride celebrations, the opening of a Metropolitan Community Church location, and the tragic bombing of Otherside Lounge. These were in addition to quieter moments of lived experience and community creation, like the opening of bookstores and theaters, establishment of poetic networks, and sharing poignant, provocative, and powerful art.

Exhibit by Sarah Mayo. Fact checked by John Prechtel.