Queering the Mountains
Queering the Mountains is an Art exhibit organized around the intersection of queer and Appalachian identity. During the summer of 2018, I conducted a summer research project “What Makes a Space Queer?,” which consisted of interviews and the development of this exhibit. I spoke with community organizers and entertainers in Asheville and the surrounding region. We investigated what makes spaces queer, why these communities form, and how they have special value in rural and southern areas. I recognized creativity and resourcefulness within the queer Appalachian community. The mountains are beautiful, but also isolating. Young queers often face difficulties in their home communities: family that doesn’t treat them like family, communities in which they are not welcome. In response to these challenges, I saw folks use social media to organize and form support networks often centered around activism or offering comfort. Many of the Artists exhibited in the show are inspired by traditional Appalachian crafts, the complex situation of being queer in the south, and the geographical and political environment. With this exhibit I aimed to offer nuanced insight into how queers make Art in their community.