By Rowan Collins Photos by Bess Watts
Saturday, September 8, 2018 saw the grand opening of the Out Alliance’s Rochester LGBTQ+ Community Center. The Community Center, located next door to the LGBTQ+ Resource Center (and the Out Alliance’s current space) at 100 College Avenue, adds an extra 1,800 feet of space and possibility.
The grand opening was a spectacular ordeal with events and revelry lasting well into the night. Spectators and guests began arriving at 3:30pm to check-in their furry companions for the Furry and Fabulous Pet Fashion Show. The Show ran from 4:30-6:30 with the always-fab Vivian Darling, Frankie Star and Vanessa LeRoux hosting the festivities.
Bob Dietch’s Piano Bar made a triumphant return from its days at Marchellos, with community members gathering round to hear him tinkle the ivories and participating in some serious Broadway sing-alongs as the evening progressed.
DJ Solid Bear’s dance party brought the house down at the end of the night as their set of rock, pop, funk, soul, and some timeless classics thrown in for fun. The dance floor never stopped moving.
Raffles, drink specials, and light food fare were available throughout the evening. 6×6 ceramic tiles were also available for painting as a fundraising initiative. Said Josh Stapf, Development Director, “We wanted to give folks an opportunity to make their mark on our new Community Center, as a way to make it truly about community. People can purchase a tile for $10 and design it however they want to express themselves. Then, we’ll be mounting all of these up on the [entrance] wall for everyone to see as they visit the space.”
Program logos, rainbow designs, hopes for the future, and affirmations will fill the wall along with space for future tiles from community members, distinguished guests, and anyone else who wants to leave their mark on this new Community Center.
The Rochester LGBTQ+ Community Center will be open 9-5pm Mondays and Fridays and 9am-8:30pm Tuesday-Thursdays. Community members are encouraged to come enjoy new programming, an expanded LGBTQ Library selection, comfortable couch and lounge area, and new décor as the space evolves over the coming months.
Out Alliance Interim Executive Director Jeff Myers says the Alliance is also working to increase and update restroom capacity, install a private shower, and renovate the new Community Center’s kitchen to be a Monroe County designated senior Lunch Club location.
“We want all of our community to feel comfortable and at home when they visit the Community Center. This is a space to take a load off, be affirmed and supported, and just be.”
New events in the Community Center will include a Youth Open Mic and Coffee House, InQueery’s Starr Revue with The Goodwill Queen of Retro Soul, Frankie Starr, Youth Halloween Dance, InQueery’s Royal Tea Party, Mental Health Association’s fall job fair, and more! Check out our calendar on page 20 for more and keep an eye out for future events in upcoming issues and by following the Out Alliance on Facebook.