written by Keithland Wilhite

I recently joined the Open Art Group at The Center for the opportunity to socialize with my peers while creating art. My interest in art began at an early age according to my family members. By the time I was in Middle School my parents decided to restrict any activities that might indicate that I was gay. Drawing and painting was forbidden! Of course, I continued in secret and eventually began to see it as a way to escape the negative attitudes and words swirling around me. After high school my creative spirit fell by the wayside and remained so for many years. Fortunately, I met my partner who encouraged me and reveled in my artistic skills. That was a real boost to my confidence, and it helped restart my journey as an artist. And now that journey has taken me to the Denver Art Museum as a participant in the Queer Creativity Through the Ages exhibit. An incredible opportunity that I could never have dreamed of. I am also grateful for the welcoming and safe space that The Center provides for queer community members. I wish I could have told that persecuted young boy of years ago to hold on to your creative spirit and that life does get better.