Pride events happening in Philly in June through summer 2023

Previewing a summer of LGBTQ+ Pride art exhibitions

5 minute read
Swirls of black hair designed on a person's back, with a bra on reverse with heart-shaped, studded cups
“PIG” by Kenzi Crash is part of William Way's 'Art of Pleasure' exhibition. (Image courtesy of William Way LGBT Center.)

This month of June, there are a lot of Pride events throughout Philadelphia. And while you can participate in a march, protest, festival, drag performance, or circuit party, there are also a number of great LGBTQ+ art exhibitions to see.

I’ve found eight LGBTQ+ exhibitions in the Philadelphia region this month, with some continuing through the summer. Each exhibition offers a unique perspective and shows a different part of our diverse community. There are exhibitions that raise awareness, explore historical photographs, spotlight queer artists from the past, and express sexual desire. Consider this article your guide for each exhibition, and make plans to visit with a friend. The best part: almost all of these events are free and open to the public! Some of these exhibitions even offer a chance to buy artwork to directly support local LGBTQ+ artists and organizations.

The Clay Studio
1425 North American Street, Philadelphia

The Clay Studio is among the most essential art organizations in Philadelphia, and their beautiful, brand-new facility opened in Kensington just last year. This month, three of their exhibitions focus on LGBTQIA+ artwork. Their first exhibition, Gone & For Ever (through July 3), is a memorial to Philadelphians lost to HIV/AIDS. The exhibition was conceived by Alex Stadler, and created “in partnership with artists, activists, community leaders, and individuals who have shared their stories.” There is also Pride Pots: Community Conversations (through July 3) by Heather Mae Erickson & Community, and Introspection (June 30) by the Clay Studio’s own executive director, Jennifer D. Martin, an LGBTQIA-identified ceramic artist.

With these three free exhibitions, the only drawback is that it may be difficult not to leave without buying something beautiful for your home! Many of the Pride Pots are available for sale in-person and on their website, along with the Clay Studio’s yearly Small Favors exhibition which features small pieces that start at just $35.

William Way LGBT Center
1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia

For those who don’t know, the William Way LGBT Center is the best place in Philadelphia to see LGBTQ+ art all year round, not just in the month of June! But this month, they have an especially good group exhibition. Curated by Chelsey Luster and Eva Wu, Art of Pleasure features 13 artists who “invite us to reimagine sexuality as a tool for self-expression, connection, and liberation. With their works, they challenge the prevailing narratives of shame and stigma around sex and desire, and instead celebrate sensuality as an essential aspect of human experience.” The exhibition exposed me to a number of artists I haven’t seen before, like Kenzi Crash, whose erotic photographs are playful and creative.

You can view Art of Pleasure along with another exhibition: The Seeds This Soil Holds: An Immersive Chapbook by Keesean Moore. This exhibition will feature poetry by the artist with photographic silkscreens. Both exhibitions run until June 29.

Mural Arts Philadelphia
Louis Kahn Park, 11th & Pine Street, Philadelphia

Mural Arts is another indispensable art organization in Philadelphia (we have more murals than any other American city thanks to them). And while they are mostly known for their long-term murals, they also create a number of temporary art installations as well. From now until August 31, there will be a public art project by Rami George called AND INTO THE STREETS. The project will take place at Louis Kahn Park, a small public space in the Washington Square West neighborhood, with the reception on Wednesday, June 28, at 6pm.

Much like their exhibition at the William Way LGBT Center this past January (which I reviewed for BSR), this installation consists of a selection of archival images and materials from the LGBTQ+ news publication Au Courant (which operated from 1982 until 2000).

A gallery with blown-up photos of transgender and nonconforming couples on white stone walls, a window lets in bright light
'Transcending Love: Portraits of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Couples and Families' by B. Proud. (Photo by Jake Foster.)

Perkins Center for the Arts
30 Irvin Avenue, Collingswood

Perkins Center for the Arts is an important small arts organization in South Jersey, with two locations in Collingswood and Moorestown. They host many classes, workshops, events, and exhibitions, and their Collingswood location couldn’t be more accessible to those in Philadelphia (a $5.20 round-trip ticket on the PATCO Speedline can get you there in about 15 minutes).

This month, the Perkins in Collingswood features Transcending Love: Portraits of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Couples and Families by photographer B. Proud. The exhibition features photographs of LGBTQ+ couples, including many who’ve been together for decades and some who have built a family. Many of the photographs, beautifully and skillfully taken, are for sale. There is also an affordable photo book for sale through the gallery containing the images and stories of each couple.

The Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts
333 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

And lastly, on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia, the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at University of the Arts presents a unique opportunity to see the first solo exhibition of artist William Schwedler in four decades. William Schwedler: Against the Grain presents a retrospective that includes his early work as a student through his death in 1982 as an early victim of HIV/AIDS. Known for his vibrant and inventive abstractions, this exhibition is a great chance to rediscover an important artist whose life was cut short too soon.


William Way LGBT Center
William Way is a wheelchair-accessible venue. Mask-wearing is strongly encouraged.

Mural Arts Philadelphia
This exhibition is outside located in a public park that features wide pavement and no steps or other barriers.

Perkins Center for the Arts
This exhibition is located on the second floor, and there is currently no elevator access.

Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery
The gallery is barrier-free except for three steps leading to a small space in the back. Masks are optional.

The Clay Studio
Their website indicates that their facility is accessible.

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