Arts News

Art exhibit shows a mom’s love for her gay son and the LGBTQ community

50 LGBTQ-related paintings, including one massive one, will be on display and for sale at Trolley Square — all painted by a mom through the pandemic as she shows her love for her son and his community.

Judith Blair Peterson tells QSaltLake Magazine the story of her journey after he came out 24 years ago and how it led to this art exhibit and sale benefitting LGBTQ organizations.

“‘Mom, I’m Gay.’ With those three words from my 16-year-old son, my life took on new meaning and direction. We instantly embraced and cried together. I began to see the world with new eyes and feel with a new heart. This was my very first experience with someone gay,” she wrote.

“After this extraordinary moment, I yearned to understand my son and the LGBTQ+ community. I began to educate myself through reading and speaking with gay people. I took an Osher class at the University of Utah taught by an outstanding lesbian teacher. Lyn Christian observed how LGBTQ+ people face challenges and barriers most of us do not.

“I became especially energized about painting LGBTQ+ works and using its bright colors. I spent a week in San Francisco’s Castro District, a vibrant LGBTQ+ community. I visited Harvey Milk Plaza, honoring “Castro’s” most famous resident who was murdered for promoting civil rights for gay people. I saw the Plaza’s iconic flag pole with an oversized rainbow flag. I toured the GLBT Historical Society Museum and walked The Rainbow Honor Walk.”

As the pandemic forced so many to stay home, Peterson took brush to canvas, creating 50 paintings celebrating the love of the LGBTQ community.

She also began a massive, 12-foot-tall painting of the Statue of Liberty she calls “The Colors of Liberty.”
All of these will be on display and up for sale at prices greatly reduced from what she normally charges. Half of the money raised will go to one of several Utah-based LGBTQ nonprofit organizations.

A grand opening reception will happen at Trolley Square on Tuesday, May 31, starting at 6 p.m. The show runs through June 26.

Peterson has invited speakers from the LGBTQ community throughout the month as well:
Friday, June 3, 6 p.m. — Coming out Stories.
Thursday, June 9, 6 p.m. — How Allies support LGBTQ+, Presented by Encircle.
Sunday, June 11, 6 p.m. — RaYnbow Collective
Sunday, June 12, 6 p.m. — Suicide Prevention
Honoring Dr. Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder.

Additional inspirational speakers will be
posted on Judith’s Facebook and Instagram event
pages, Colors of Liberty, and at ­

Peterson will also have postcards and a video “tour” of the historic sites of the Castro District.
The exhibit will take place through June 26th at Trolley Square, 602 E. 500 S, on the second floor between The ­Spaghetti ­Factory & Desert Edge Brewery.

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