Due to uncertainty about the COVID-19 forecast in early 2021, the Utah Pride Center (UPC) chose to forego its annual parade and festival and instead planned a uniquely-Utah exhibition known as the Utah Pride Story Garden. I was asked to lead the exhibition production team in creating 20 outdoor exhibits that would allow attendees to maintain distance while learning about the history and stories of Utah’s LGBTQ+ community.
My team researched, wrote, and designed over 250 original pieces for the exhibition. We curated an additional 600 elements, including informational panels, photo backdrops, artwork from local Queer creators, interactive pieces, and community resource displays.
The entire plan for this event was centered around being COVID-safe. To make this possible through design, I limited the text on each panel and included large and legible typography to ensure viewers could read them from a distance. This, along with limiting entry to the event for each fifteen-minute block, ensured that guests did not gather too close together and continued moving through the space.
While I incorporated UPC branding to unify the experience, each exhibit included a unique feel to match the theme. Some of the exhibits provided a creative challenge, such as the Kristen Ries Award Winners. Most of the source images were low-quality scans, some from several decades ago, so I created Warhol-inspired portraits to unify and scale the photos.
The individual themes of the exhibits were as follows:
Utah Queer History
Salt Lake is Burning
Kristen Ries Award Winners
Community Art & Entertainment (North)
Drag Queendom and Kingdom
Utah Pride Center Zone (North)
LGBTQ+ Around the World
Civil Rights Timeline
Secret Sanctuary Garden
Utah Pride Center Zone (South)
Studio 54 Dance Party
Community Art & Entertainment (South)
Tributes and Memorials
Flying Our Flags
In addition, I created a playlist of Queer composers that played in the Community Art & Entertainment exhibits. That playlist, as well as a recap video, can be viewed below.