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QKE event showcases queer art across Milwaukee

 A collage of five different pieces of art includes animal silhouettes on wood, two circles with wild colors, a pink square, a painting of a bowl of oranges and a still from an art film.

“Pride means more than just rainbows.”

That’s the message being sent by QKE, a city-wide collaborative event that pulls together Milwaukee’s art galleries and organizations to display work from queer artists during Pride Month. Starting this weekend, you’ll be able to visit 19 different locations around the area and see exhibitions, screenings and alternative-arts programs sharing queer experiences, voices and perspectives.

As organizers explained in their release announcing the event, “QKE uses the term queer to signify the limitless range of identities represented in the Trans, Lesbian, Gay, Bi and all other communities experiencing sexual marginalization. QKE intends for queer to be comprehensive and open, acknowledging the nuances of individual identity and experience within a larger, inclusive network.”

 A poster hanging on a wall with peeling paint shows a bent, dark-colored background with the letters "QKE" in light-colored font.

Like many of the other Pride-themed events happening around town — from the Brewers’ recent Pride Night to the Pabst Theater’s customized lighting for its new sign — the participating locations for QKE have shown a commitment to creating a supportive space for LGBTQ+ communities. This event serves to amplify that commitment by recognizing the impact and importance of queer art.

“The exhibitions and artists presented in QKE construct a timeline of artists from queer history through the contemporary present,” organizers said in the release. “As an objective whole, QKE constructs a network of queer spaces to challenge the status quo of what queer art is and amplifies the resounding power and resilience of queer artists.”

They continued, saying one of their goals is for anyone who steps into these spaces to “expand their minds and hearts by exploring and experiencing the broad spectrum of exhibitions in Milwaukee’s finest galleries and institutions.”

Use the player at the top of the page to hear Radio Milwaukee’s Nate Imig talk with QKE organizers Andrew Whitver and Michael Lagerman about the event. You can also find a full list of participating locations below and visit the QKE website for more information, including dates for each exhibition.

QKE participating locations