Steve McAllister said he has been coming to the Be Fabulous Arts & Music Fest since “way back when it was the Harvey Milk Festival” before its renaming recently. What keeps him returning, he said, is "the music, the people, and the essence of people coming together as a community to understand one another and to stand up for something.”
Members of the community filled the premises and seats at WSLR+Fogartyville on May 13 for the lineup of LGBTQ+ bands including headliner Palomino Blond, as well as bands such as Myles Optimystic and Proud Miranda, and keynote speakers Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez and Zander Moricz.
Shannon Fortner, executive director and founder of the Fabulous Arts Foundation, said using the arts as a catalyst for social change has allowed people in the community to truly gain support, including for other initiatives they may be pursuing, such as the creation of nonprofit organizations.
“We persisted, we came together as a community, and we are standing tall,” Fortner said. “We are educating folks in the community, and people are finding support and meeting other community members, and we have been discussing how we move forward together as a community and continue to be visible – to be seen and to be heard.”
In fact, Fortner said, currently the Fabulous Arts Foundation is working on establishing its own center, with the goal being a space that will host its art therapy pilot program.
“In light of the pandemic and with everything going on, we want to find a way that we can offer an opportunity to have the community heal through the art,” Fortner said, also noting a five-year goal of creating a large performing arts and community center.