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Fairfield Residents Sponsor Opening Of Art Exhibit In Response To Orlando

Stilt walker Lady Blaze leads the Pride Walk through downtown Bridgeport at the opening of the SameSex exhibition at City Lights Gallery. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
State Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey and John Brannelly, left, march in the Pride Walk in downtown Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Art lovers gathered for the opening reception of the SameSex exhibition at City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Stilt walker Lady Blaze leads the Pride Walk through downtown Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The 2016 Pride Walk in downtown Bridgeport Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The 2016 Pride Walk in downtown Bridgeport Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Hundreds converged on City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport on Thursday evening to kick off the sixth annual SameSex exhibition and Pride Walk, an event many said was crucial in the wake of the attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

“We’ve seen that stereotypes kill,” said gallery Executive Director Suzanne Kachmar. “But when you get people together and they meet and talk and have a glass of wine, all of a sudden, there’s not ‘the other.’ "

SameSex, which continues through Aug. 30 at the Main Street gallery, features artwork by 21 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender artists and allies, including parents and siblings of LGBTQ people, Kachmar said.

The exhibition includes several pieces by Ricky Mestre, who first suggested an LGBTQ show at City Lights six years ago. In addition, there are artists from as far away as California, and several works respond to the Orlando mass shooting and the recent debate on gender-neutral public restrooms.

The evening concluded with a spirited Pride Walk around downtown streets, led by stilt walker Lady Blaze and Josh Brugueras, who was rewarded for driving all the way from his Newington home with the Best Dressed award.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, stopped by the exhibition and state Rep. Cristin McCarthy Fahey, D-133rd District, took part in the Pride Walk.

The packed opening reception was sponsored by Triangle Community Center of Norwalk and Fairfield residents Dave Ivanko and John Brannelly.

Brannelly, a board member at City Lights, said making an artistic statement is crucial to the LGBTQ community.

“It’s just so important, in light of what happened in Orlando, to fight for LGBT rights,” he said. “People from all walks of life can express themselves through art.”

City Lights Gallery is at 855 Main St., Bridgeport. Gallery hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, visit www.citylightsgallery.org .

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