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June 20th, 2005

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07:25 pm - Calling Queer Youth North of Boston
A friend of mine is doing this project. It sounds incredibly cool, but I'm way over 21. For those who aren't, here's the info.
Calling Queer Youth
Are you a queer youth, or do you know one? Like to write?

Creative writing from youth between the ages of 13 and 21 is being accepted to be part of a community art piece by local poet and interdisciplinary artist, Jennifer Belkus, working in cooperation with Seacoast Outright, the Portsmouth-based nonprofit serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The installation will be presented at a theater workshop performance on social justice themes in the fall. The event is coordinated by Seacoast Outright along with the University of New Hampshire and Fringe Benefits, a Los Angeles based social justice theater troupe. Entries are due June 28 at Seacoast Outright�s office, and can be mailed in or e-mailed.

"Respond to this - to the topics of feeling alone or part of something bigger," Belkus wrote in a press release last week. "Though sexual orientation or gender don't have to be specifically addressed in creative writings, I expect them to manifest in one way or another. They will be given presence in the final piece."

The goal of Seacoast Outright is to help LGBTQ youth empower themselves and one another through giving voice to their dreams, fears, identities and experiences, according to Executive Director Tawnee Walling.

"By combining a theater presentation with Jennifer's creative use of art and multimedia, these voices will be heard, seen, and experienced by all who attend - furthering our educational outreach into the greater community," writes Walling.

Belkus' most recent work involved two public art collaborations this past April with eco-artist Tim Gaudreau for Overnight Art!, the temporary outdoor exhibit commissioned by Art-Speak, Portsmouth's Cultural Commission. The pieces, "Callbox 4" and "Portsmouth Says "hi," both involved community outreach and input.

For this project, organizations working with youth throughout New Hampshire Southern Maine, and North Eastern Massachusetts are being asked to spread the word. Seacoast Outright officially serves the New Hampshire Seacoast, Southern Maine, and North Shore Massachusetts, but its reach and impact are even broader. Its events are attended by youth from Manchester, Nashua, and Sanford, Maine, and its Outreach and Education Program runs educational workshops throughout New England. In particular, Gay/Straight Alliances (GSAs), school clubs for LGBTQ youth and their allies, have been asked to reach out to their students before the school year ends.

The application process is very simple, and contributors can use a pseudonym or be anonymous. For an application or information, e-mail info@seacoastoutright.org or call the office at (603) 431-1013.

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