On Tuesday night in Hollywood the formerly abandoned Big Lots on Vine was packed with Angelenos uniting in the name of art and activism for the opening night of the Manifest Equality Gallery. Hundreds of artists, including marquee names like Barry McGee, Gary Baseman, and Shepard Fairey, devoted their time and talent to focus awareness on the LGBT community and to call for political and social reform. The opening bash for the Manifest Equality Gallery, co-presented by the Courage Campaign, Rock The Vote, and Logo TV, kicked off with performances by folk musician and violinist Emily Wells and DJ Diabetic aka Shepard Fairey providing the atmosphere. The event was organized by Jennifer Gross, Apple Via, and Yosi Sergant, who spearheaded Manifest Hope art shows in Denver and Washington, D.C. during Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The pop-up gallery features world-class artists who have all created provocative original works rich with political and social commentary and visual interpretations of poignant issues such as marriage and "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Cleve Jones, activist, organizer, and founder of The AIDS Memorial Quilt, the largest ongoing community arts project in the world, delivered a powerful speech about the role of public art in the ongoing struggle to obtain full and equal rights for all. Activists, allies, artists, and members of the community celebrated social progress while recognizing that, in the wake of Proposition 8, the fight for equality is still very much alive right here in California. The gallery will remain open through Sunday, March 7 from 10:00 AM - 10 PM. Swing by 1341 Vine Street to check out a truly innovative mixed-media exhibition in the name of social justice. 50% percent of the proceeds go toward the Courage Campaign.
(Photos courtesy of Evolutionary Media Group)