Out & Elected in the U.S.A.

Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson stands next to his Out and Elected photo

The Out and Elected Exhibit reception
CARRBORO -- April 14, 2002
The Carrboro Art Committee, Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission, and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation are pleased to announce the arrival of an important new nationally touring exhibit. Out & Elected in the U.S.A. features 60 photographs with accompanying texts of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans who have served or currently are serving at nearly every level of elected office throughout the country. Through the efforts of Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson, Carrboro was the first stop in the nationwide tour.

Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson
“With black and white photographs, and the words of the subjects, this is a remarkable and thought-provoking body of work that documents the past 30 years of a significant emerging trend in U.S. political history,” said Nelson.

The collection includes subjects from 30 of the 33 states where openly LGBT individuals have been elected.

Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation, commented: “We are pleased to sponsor an exhibit that offers such personal and accessible testimony to the importance of the work we do at the Victory Foundation, preparing LGBT leaders for positions in public life.”

Former Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Hertzenberg
Out & Elected in the U.S.A. kicked off the tour with a display at the Carrboro Century Center on Sunday April 14, with a reception from 5 until 7 pm. The free reception was open to the public and hosted a crowd of more than 100 people.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share this inspiring and educational exhibit with the community,” said Catherine DeVine, chair of the Carrboro Art Committee.

Exhibit creator Ron Lee.

Exhibit creator R.S. Lee spoke of his exhibit, which so far has been four years in the making, as a way of helping break down barriers not only in the world of elected officials, but for people of all walks of life.

"If this can help one person who has always said 'No way, no how' realize that it doesn't have to be that way, that they don't have to spend their life trying to be something that they're not, then I've accomplished my goal."

Lee spoke of the strides that have been made in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender officials being elected even since he started this project.

Toledo, Ohio City Council member Louis Escobar

The exhibit is made possible through the generous support of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation, a national education and public interest organization that prepares lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to become leaders in the public sector through education, training and professional development. The organization can be contacted at 202.628.9151 or on the web at www.victoryfoundation.org.

California State Senator Sheila James Kuehl
Creation of the collection was made possible in part due to the generous support of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); www.pflag.org.

The exhibit has been coordinated locally by volunteer Catherine DeVine. Of particular interest at the local level are two photos of local elected officials, Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson and former Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Hertzenberg. The Carrboro Art Committee is honored to be showing this exhibition from April 14 until May 12, 2002. Stop by and check it out.

The Out & Elected exhibit in the lower lobby of the Century Center

Alison Weiner on piano and Laurie Oshrain on drums and a friend on horn provided a wonderful musical addition
Thanks go out to Carrburritos, Weaver St. Market, and Acme Restaurant for the food they donated to the reception, and (the Chapel Hill establishment) Hell for beverages. Many thanks also go out to Catherine DeVine, Stan Babiss, Mike Nelson, Berkeley Grimball, Jackie Helvey-Hayes, Karen Slotta, and Myrna and Jim Dawson for their help assembling and hanging the exhibit, and Alison Weiner on piano, Laurie Oshrain on drums, and Richard Tapper on trumpet for providing great live music.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation
Click here for the official invitation.

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