Art + Pride 2021

July 6 – August 6, 2021

Art + Pride 2021
Art + Pride 2021 (photo by Emmy Balas, Artist with Youth Art Exchange)

Welcome to our Art + Pride 2021 – Reflections Exhibition

Although our celebrations this year continue to remain (mostly) virtual the essence of Pride in our colorful city is something that draws us together every year.  We give homage and reverence and thanks to those who have fought to get us to where we are and remind us of how far we have yet to go.  We Reflect.  Perhaps a little more this year.  With this year’s Art & Pride Exhibit, we hope to bring together a wider community of intergenerational LGBTQ artists of all mediums, focusing on youth and seniors.  We are thrilled to be collaborating with Youth Art Exchange, which sparks a shared creative practice between professional artists and public high school students, furthering youth as leaders, thinkers, and artists in San Francisco. 

We wish to thank Gilbert Baker for designing the Iconic Rainbow Flag, as he designed this beautiful symbol, for everyone to share, enjoy, and reflect upon.  Each of us has the opportunity and ability to contribute in some way with our individual talents, and support.  This Flag is not only beautiful and historic but symbolizes that each of us is a “piece of the rainbow”, calling to us and reminding us how essential and important each of us are as individuals, within our community. Collectively, we have the power to create change for our community and future. 


  • Dave Christensen, Director, Harvey Milk Photo Center
  • Nicola Bosco-Alvarez, Director, Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Co.

Gallery Hours at Harvey Milk Photo Center
July 6 – August 6, 2021 • Tue/Thur: 1:00pm – 4:00pm PST

Contributing Artists List and works below.

Interview with Charley Beal, Pres. Gilbert Baker Foundation, NYC

GLBT Visitor Info
GLBT Visitor Info

Do check out the amazing exhibit at the LGBTQ Historical Museum, on 18th Street, SF, CA. 

Check their website for Gallery Hours: 

Rainbow Flag, Courtesy of Gilbert Baker Estate
Photo by Mark Rennie (IG: @markrennie9) of Gilbert Baker – City Hall 2012

Gilbert Baker Quotes:

 “What I liked about the symbolism of the rainbow is that it fits us. It’s all the colors. It represents all the genders. It represents all the races. It’s the rainbow of humanity.”. 

GLBT Museum San Francisco, 2012 

“The rainbow is a symbol of harmony, and if we eliminate any color from the rainbow flag, we destroy the integrity of the rainbow. So too, with the family of man. If we eliminate any one group, or gender, or race, or anyone for whatever reason, we destroy the integrity of the family of man.”

Gilbert speaking at the International Flag Congressional, San Francisco in 1987… 

“The thread that runs through every gay life, every LGBTQ person is that we all have a moment in our lives when we come out to ourselves. And that moment is what connects us, through all the generations and all of our different stories – that’s the thread of the Rainbow Flag. That single moment where individuals claim their own truth, is true power.” 


“The Rainbow Flag represents the “diversity of freedom for everyone: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight, whatever your sex, whatever your color. Visible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

Gilbert Baker. San Francisco June 25, 1978 

“The few people at United Nations Plaza who witnessed its birth were now staring up with wonder at the fruits of our long labor. They were getting it, owning it, feeling it as a part of them, understanding the diversity of sexual freedom it represented for everyone: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight, whatever your sex, whatever your color. Visible, with liberty and justice for all. 

From RAINBOW WARRIOR, chapter one… 

That moment felt like a bolt of lightning that I surely knew would change the course of my life. What I didn’t know at the time was how the Rainbow Flag would change the world.” 

“We needed something to express our joy, our beauty, our power. And the rainbow did that.” 

“Flags are about proclaiming power… that visibility is key to our success and to our justice.” 

“I love going to cities around the world and seeing the rainbow flag, knowing that it’s a safe place where I can be myself.” 

“A true flag is not something you can really design. A true flag is torn from the soul of the people. A flag is something that everyone owns, and that’s why they work. The Rainbow Flag is like other flags in that sense: it belongs to the people.” 

“What the rainbow has given our people is a thing that connects us.” 

CBS Chicago Interview 2015 

“The rainbow is a beautiful part of nature, all of the colors, and even the ones you can’t see. So that really fit us as a people because we are all of the colors. Our sexuality is all of the colors. We’re all of the genders and races and ages.”

“We (gay) people are so different. We’re men and women. We’re black and white and brown – every color… and every class. It’s a spectrum and that’s why the rainbow flag caught on.” 

San Francisco Examiner April 11, 1995 

“For LGBTQ people, there are few artifacts that carry the historic, political and cultural significance of this seminal work of art, the original rainbow flag. We are deeply grateful that Gilbert Baker saved this fragment and that it has been brought home to San Francisco. We trust that its message of diversity, liberation and hope will continue to inspire queer people for generations to come.”

Charley Beal, President of the Gilbert Baker Foundation, and Terry Beswick, Executive Director of the GLBT Historical Society

Gallery Exhibit Viewing Hours at Harvey Milk Photo Center

Feature Photo by Ruby Rieke

Dave Christensen
Director, Harvey Milk Photo Center

Nicola Bosco-Alvarez
Director, Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Co.

Exhibit Date
July 6 – August 6, 2021
Tues & Thurs: 1:00pm – 4:00pm PST

Digital Gallery
Digital Gallery will remain available beyond August 6.

Harvey Milk Photo Center
50 Scott Street, SF, CA

Location Instructions
Main Entrance Doors to the Photo Center Park-Side

Masking is required for all visitors in our facility.  Please note that Youth Summer Camp is in session currently.

The Harvey Milk Photo Center is not open regarding normal operations. Please stay tuned for further opening updates.

Help us Continue Serving Our Community by Donating Generously Today

Artist Gallery


Several months ago, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, a small group of friends got together for a socially distanced celebration of my 80th birthday.

I started drawing as soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil. However, except for a few brief classes at San Francisco’s Sharon Art Center, I never received formal training in art, and only began to pursue it seriously two years ago. Until the pandemic set in, I worked with others in informal studio sessions at the Golden Gate Park Senior Center, and was lucky enough to find a group of people who got together each weekend to do figure drawing.

To me, this is an act of love and liberation: Tracing the human body and feeling it come alive on paper.

Difficult though it was, the long period of imposed isolation has allowed me a new opportunity to draw and paint: usually alone, sometimes with other artists, via the Internet. To be sure, pictorial art is intrinsically an isolated pursuit. By shutting out much of the outside world, COVID has provided a perfect laboratory in which it can flourish.

Still, the events of the past tumultuous year have occupied me intensely. As a political activist, I spend part of my time engaged in modest efforts to improve the world. As an artist, though, I find that the relentless barrage of news and commentary risks overwhelming our ability to listen deeply and observe things keenly. My recent drawings seem conceived to counteract that onslaught: Each figure inhabits a still, private space, where it contemplates the world in an effort to make sense of it.

Lately, thanks to online workshops, I am cautiously starting to use a full color palette and even attempt abstract painting. Little by little, as we emerge (hopefully) from the Pandemic, my art may begin to take on new dynamism, color and energy. But at the moment, my quiet figures are channeling me. Or is it vice-versa?


If I knew then…What I know now.

Most people in the LGBTQ community have two experiences in common: a before and after coming out and the internal struggle associated with the transition between this before and after. 

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 40% of high school students who consider themselves sexual minorities have considered or attempted suicide. This staggering statistic is often associated with fear, shame, or a lack of support.

How would this statistic change if a support network existed for every individual going through this experience?  What would you tell your younger self to help provide that much-needed support if you had the opportunity?  How would that advice have helped you? How might that advice help others?

This project tackles these questions by asking the subject to write a handwritten letter to their younger self which is paired with the portrait I make of them. 

The letters contain advice which could address the subject’s sexuality, career advice, relationship advice, career advice, or any other advice that important to the subject. The letter gives the audience the unique opportunity to experience this internal dialogue and connect with the subject on a deeper, more intimate, and emotional level.  The work is meant to be therapeutic for the subject but also to serve a support network for those who so desperately need one.

Michael Wertz

Noted Bay Area illustrator, printmaker, and educator.

His illustrations have been awarded by Communication Arts, American Illustration, and The Society of Illustrators. He is the Assistant Chair of Illustration at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. His clients include the DeYoung Museum, BART, Google, Nike, Oaklandish, the Oakland Museum and The New York Times.

Gloria Gee

Gloria Gee is a retired women’s fashion pattern maker. She started Chinese Brush Painting in 2005, Learning the Lingan Style, horse painting, scroll mounting and calligraphy from renowned artists in the Bar Area. She also completed the photography and photoshop courses years ago and obtained an AA degree in Art and Humanities from CCSF in 2019.

Her paintings and photographs have won many awards in recent years. She is volunteering at Golden Gate Park Senior Center, teaching the Chinese Brush Painting Class. Since the pandemic, she has been teaching the classes using Zoom.

Ruby Rieke

Ruby Rieke is a native of San Francisco. Her love of color and texture shine through in the various mediums she uses. She was lucky enough to become friends with Verasphere creators in 2006 and has photographed them through the years.

Paulette Liang

I made this piece during the first Iraq War knowing how imperialist war inflicts misery on the civilian population, especially how women and children are considered “collateral damage”.

After almost 20 years, the situation is as dire with tens of thousands of families stranded in squalid refugee camps. 

The head of this sculpture was accidentally broken but I feel it adds to the figure.  It has been fired in a pit without any glazes.

Thomas Galli-Magerl

Like in all other areas the COVID pandemic also has an impact on the planning of the CSD parades around the globe. After the case numbers dropped, a parade took place in Graz(Austria), with safety measures and strict security rules in place. My photo series tries to capture the tension between the need for personal safety and the urge to fight for the the LGBTQ+ community.

Cyrus Jung

Cyrus Jung was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1924.  He was sent to China for his early education, and came back to San Francisco when he was in his teens.  He worked for Caltrans as a licensed civil engineer where he supervised the design of freeways in California.  He retired after 40 years of service in 1988.

Cyrus started Brush Painting at CCSF in 2002.  He paints everyday for a couple of hours to keep himself busy.  He also mounts and frames his own paintings.  His paintings have been highly regarded by his family and his friends.

Youth Art Exchange

Amber Lau

I have struggled a lot in the past few years. But, the little things in life have made it better, even liberating. A good piece of toast in the morning has gotten me through everything 🙂

Yixi Ou

I am Yixi, The theme of this painting is reflection. When I reflect on it, the first thing appeared in my mind is the big and small choices I made in the past year. We consider our grades, hobbies, family and friends when choosing. I hope everyone will not regret their choice when you see this painting.

Sofia Fillon aka Papa Smurf

During Covid, I’ve spent a lot of time biking the streets of The Sunset, taking into account the various colors and designs of the houses. I took photos of some of the houses I liked and put them next to each other in order of the colors in the Gay Pride Flag.

Emmy Balas