The Persad Center will expand its mission as an LGBTQ health and wellness organization to support artists with a new pilot program, announced ahead of its annual fundraising gala.
Persad launched its Art for Change program, described in a press release as “one of the most important art auctions in the region.” Proceeds from the event will support the Lawrenceville-based center’s mission to “provide mental health services to the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV/AIDS.”
Unlike previous years, a new pilot program will, as Persad CEO Marty Healey puts it, “enable all participating artists in the gallery to receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their work.” The program will feature a series of galleries curated by local artists and arts organizations, as well as an auction selling donated works. Artists interested in donating to the auction can now submit pieces through an online form.
The fundraising gala and art auction will take place on Friday, September 9 at Stage AE on the North Side.
“The positive link between art and mental health is strong and we know that creating art, whether it’s sculpture, painting or drawing, is known to lower stress levels and promote mental peace,” Healey says, adding that the COVID pandemic -19 has “Was a significant economic setback for the artist community and as the leading LGBTQ+ mental health organization in the region.”
Founded in 1972, Persad ranks as the second oldest LGBTQ mental health agency in the US, providing a variety of mental health and social support services to LGBTQ youth and senior populations in the region.
The program marks a positive step for an organization that has seen its share of controversy in recent years. Chief among the complaints is Persad’s association with Healey and his Delta Foundation, which previously ran the city’s annual Pride events. In August 2020, activists demonstrated outside Healey’s private business on the South Side to protest Delta for a number of alleged abuses, including discriminating against and shutting out the black trans community and not being open to it. what happened to the funds earmarked for the canceled Pittsburgh Pride 2020 event.
Tensions rose when it was revealed that Delta filed to trademark the term “Pittsburgh Pride” and “Pittsburgh PrideFest” after announcing it was disbanding. As reported by Pittsburgh City Paper in November 2021, the move angered local LGBTQ groups, who even protested outside Persad’s offices, and led many to question the future of the city’s annual Pride celebrations.
Art for Change galleries are curated by Judy Barie, Madeline Gent and Steve Mendelson, as well as Garfield Boom Concepts and Contemporary Craft galleries in Lawrenceville. The galleries are described as including a mix of artists and mediums chosen to “weave together a story that best represents their aesthetic experience”.
In addition to curating their galleries, participating artists and organizations, led by Art for Change committee chair Mia Tarducci, will also select 50 to 75 donated pieces to be included in the gallery section of the show.
While the auction will cover the services provided by Persad, those who donated art will receive 20% of the sales from the donated works, as well as a free ticket to the Art for Change gala and a discount code for 50% off the purchase of a second . ticket.
“We are excited about our pilot program as it allows us to give back to and support the community of artists, many of whom have supported Art for Change for the past 34 years,” says Healey. “Last year’s event was extremely successful and we are excited to share these changes, which we believe will help improve the process and make this year’s event even more exciting.”
Persad Center Art for Change 2022. 6:30-23:00 17:00 for VIP ticket holders. Friday, September 9. Stage AE. 400 N. Shore Drive, on the North Side. $150-$375. persadartforchange.com