The Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen has created a historic poster exhibition for the City of Calgary’s Open Spaces program. Open Spaces began in 2009 and celebrates the diversity and quality of works by regional artists, with gallery windows on the Centre Street LRT platform: enlivening the Calgarian commuter experience.
The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival premiered in Calgary on June 17, 1999, and has become a treasured annual event ever since. The LGBTQ2 Festival has a history of engaging talented local artists to design its festival posters. Over the years, Fairy Tales accumulated a backlog of visually iconic posters that served as both marketing vehicle and artwork. Queer Film Saved Us is a curated retrospective of those beautiful posters. They assert—on the walls, streets, and bulletin boards of Calgary—that queer people were here and always have been.
The 23rd Annual Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival, produced by the Calgary Queer Arts Society, is happening soon (online again this year): running from May 21 – 30, 2021.
Seeing ourselves represented on the big screen was alchemy and moved LGBTQ2 rights forward when public funding for queer cultural events was considered controversial. Festival organizers routinely got harassing phone calls and hateful mail but kept the event going—defiantly.
Fairy Tales posters would paper the streets every year at festival time, claiming space in our city. Queer Film Saved Us is a retrospective of those claims: stylized, beautiful and proud. Artists and graphic designers represented in this exhibition include Lisa Brawn, Glen Mielke and Toqueboy Studios.
We especially thank Heather Campbell, Public Art Consultant for the City of Calgary, who managed all of the administrative details for this exhibition. She is a delightful and enthusiastic collaborator.