In Orange County, New York, the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center aims to bring together the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. In order to build a much-needed support system for LGBTQ+ youth and adults in the Newburgh area, the center at 102 S. Williams St. often hosts events, social meet-ups and organization sessions for activists looking to make a difference.
On Dec. 7 and 8, “Cheers Queers!,” an indoor winter market featuring LGBTQ+ creators and vendors was hosted by the center and CelebrateWomxn845, founded by New Paltz alum Jamie Sanin.
For LGBTQ+ individuals, “[The holiday season] can be financially rough, it can be family-rough,” Sanin said. “I started ‘Celebrate’ because it was a personal goal to have an art show, but there was a community need for women and femme and nonbinary folks to show their art and come together, so that’s our mission: to organize, recognize and celebrate.”
Featured at “Cheers, Queers!” were vendors who created everything from haircare to knitwear to photographs. “Aladin’s Treasure,” owned by Shanique Alladen, sold custom sprays, soaps and oils that catered to the need for unique and aromatherapeutic skincare products. Vendor “BlacSpiritual” sold not only homemade oils, bracelets and body butters, but spiritual products such as smudge sticks, healing oils and tea blends.
Salem Corwin of “The Sleepy Dragon” sold knitted products, sassy, zeitgeist-y pins that read “OK BOOMER,” pride flag earrings and beautiful, custom-made jewelry in the shape of challah bread. Across the way was vendor “Firefly Resin,” who sold tea, resin jewelry and most interestingly, witchcraft items labeled “Boxes & Spells.”
Overall, the winter market on South Williams St. was a warm and eclectic environment, with interesting conversations sprouting from every corner. Past the LGBTQ+ center information table sprinkled with pins and pamphlets, the Newburgh Community Photo Project (NCPP) plastered the walls. The NCPP is a grassroots program that engages citizens in photography and public art projects on topics that relate to their community, therefore the photos on display portrayed the everyday lives of working people in Newburgh, titled “This Is Where We Live.”
In the future, the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center will continue to be a cultural hub for Hudson Valley Residents. Their upcoming events include a Poughkeepsie Pride planning conversation (Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m.,) and an Emergent Strategy and Experimentation Group on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. On Jan. 10, CelebrateWomxn845 will host “Celebration,” a multidisciplinary art exhibition at 4 South Clinton St. in Poughkeepsie.