Brushing vibrant colors across a canvas. Rhyming words to tell a story. Swaying to the music.
“Glitter Nights” at the 9Muses Art Center in Fort Lauderdale featured many different ways for a diverse cross-section of Broward residents to dabble in the arts and share experiences that brought them closer together.
This immersive artistic event is one example of how the 9Muses Art Center is fostering inclusion and support for LGBTQ residents through a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Broward.
The 9Muses Art Center – a program by Mental Health America of Southeast Florida – is an arts studio that has long created workshops, exhibitions and other artistic activities to provide behavioral health support for Broward residents with mental health and substance abuse disorders.
A $51,000 grant from the Community Foundation last year helped the art center build on its longstanding commitment to the LGBTQ community with expanded efforts to combat discrimination, create safe spaces for dialogue and foster inclusion.
The art center’s IRIS Year program – to celebrate diversity and the importance of mental health – launched with Glitter Nights. The program grew into online arts activities that kept building community connections during the pandemic. Along the way, the 9Muses Art Center continued to tailor its mission to find new opportunities to reduce stigma, bring people together and expand mental health wellness support for LGBTQ residents.
“People can really develop an understanding and a support network when they do art together,” 9Muses Art Center Manager Nicole Storrs said at the start of the IRIS Year program.
The Community Foundation grant for the 9Muses Art Center was made possible by our Fundholders who support Broward Pride – philanthropy that fosters inclusion and breaks down barriers for LGBTQ residents.
Even though Broward has more same-sex households than any other county in Florida, many of our LGBTQ residents still face discrimination and feel excluded from community institutions. To change that, the Community Foundation has long been at the forefront of advocating for the LGBTQ community.
Since 2003, more than $8 million in Community Foundation grants have supported the LGBTQ community on a wide range of issues, including education, outreach, the arts and more. And in 2018 we commissioned research that produced the Broward Pride Report to the Community – launching a bold new focus for how local philanthropy could support LGBTQ residents.
Thanks to visionary philanthropists who create endowed charitable Funds at the Community Foundation, we will always be there to champion equality and foster inclusion for everyone who calls Broward home.
“For too long LGBTQ residents in Broward have often been made to feel excluded from the broader community,” said Sheri Brown, Community Foundation Vice President of Community Impact. “We can and must do more to make sure LGBTQ residents feel Broward is a place where they are welcome and can thrive.”
Support for the 9Muses Art Center IRIS Year program came from the following Funds at the Community Foundation:
- Gay and Lesbian Broward Community Fund
- Richard Frisby and Edward Burkhart Fund
- Charles L. Ross Fund
- The Robert Elmore Family Fund
- Everett H. Metcalf, Jr. Unrestricted Fund
To learn how you can support Broward Pride and other issues that matter, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-761-9503.