Sussex Pride 2019

| 20 Jun 2019 | 10:05

Sussex Pride 2019 Brings Rainbows and Art to the Newton Green
By Mandy Coriston
Newton- Dozens of people gathered on the Newton Green on Saturday, June 15, to mark Pride Month with a celebration of LGBTQ+ visual and performance art, poetry and photography. This is the third year Sussex Pride has been feted on the Green, and the first to include an arts component.
Grand Marshal Zoe Heath was dressed to the nines for the occasion, sporting a cream-colored ballgown, tiara, and sash. Heath said it was significant for the LGBTQ+ community to share their artistic voices in this forum.
“We want to highlight voices that don’t always have the opportunity to show their work,” Heath said, “While it should be highlighted year-round, this is our time. This is pride. This work should be seen.”
Heath, along with former NOW Sussex Chapter president Lindsay Campbell were instrumental in bringing the afternoon together through their social welfare group, Momentum Sussex, which addresses concerns facing not only the LGBTQ+ community, but other underserved populations in Sussex County. Momentum Sussex also supports governmental participation on a variety of progressive issues.
Propmaster and filmmaker Michael Tlatelpa was utilizing his artistic talents at a facepainting table. He’ll be attending the Vancouver Film School next year, and wanted to take part in Sussex Pride before he moves away from his home in Vernon. Tlatelpa creates and sells props and prosthetics, and works as a live performance artist through his business, Monkeyboy Productions.
“I’ve loved art and film since I was a little kid, and I wanted to use my skills to support this event," he said. "Love is love. It’s human nature to love each other. I just wanted to spread a little joy today. My philosophy is that if I’m doing something to make someone else happy, then I am doing something right.”
Other artists gathered to display painting, photography, jewelry and craft items. The afternoon also included poetry readings and drag performances. Attendees of all ages reveled in the late spring sunshine; sharing snacks, blowing bubbles, and putting their mark on a collaborative poster that will hang in the County Administration Building for the remainder of Pride Month.
“We’ve got so many different types of people here, showing their true identities,” Heath said, “It’s so important to give people a chance to show their authentic selves, especially here in Sussex County. Not everyone gets to do that.”