Rainbows & Revolutions Explores History of LGBTQ+ Coloradans in a Groundbreaking Exhibition
Opens on June 4 to Celebrate Pride Month with Support from the Gill Foundation
DENVER (May 23, 2022) — For the first time in our state, the stories, successes and struggles of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community will be on display in an exhibition coming to History Colorado Center.
Rainbows & Revolutions will feature artifacts from the Gill Foundation LGBTQ Archives, a new, permanent collection of History Colorado that spans three generations and includes photographs and authentic artifacts from across the state that tell the story of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ movement from the 1950’s until the present.
Defining acts of rebellion, self-expression and solidarity are highlighted in this exhibition. Visitors will witness expressions of defiance, from demonstrations for civil rights and equality in the 1950’s, to the high profile revolt against Denver’s City Council in 1973. Rainbows & Revolutions dives deep into how Colorado dealt with the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s and teaches about the devastating passage of Amendment 2 in the 1990’s. In a nod to modern times and extraordinary progress, the journey continues with Colorado electing the nation’s first openly gay governor in 2018.
“Rainbows & Revolutions honors the progress of the LGBTQ+ community and pivotal journey over the past decades. Our experiences are part of the story of Colorado,” said Aaron Marcus, Gill Foundation Associate Curator of LGBTQ+ History at History Colorado and Emmy award-winning researcher. “As a historian, I feel a responsibility to preserve and pass along the stories of the LGBTQ+ community so we can all learn from and add to them. By using our voices to document what we’ve been through, we hope to pave a smoother path forward toward equality and full acceptance to become a truly inclusive and stronger community for everyone.”
The Gill Foundation is generously supporting the Rainbows & Revolutions exhibition. Through the foundation’s support, Marcus was hired as the first curator of LGBTQ+ history at History Colorado in 2020, enabling the curation of LGBTQ artifacts from across the state, which will be part of the museum’s permanent collection and known as the Gill Foundation LGBTQ Archives.
“LGBTQ history is Colorado’s history,” said Brad Clark, CEO and President of the Gill Foundation. “It was just 30 years ago that Colorado was known as the “hate state” after passing an amendment that permitted discrimination against LGBTQ people. Thanks to the tireless work of our community over the decades since, we became the first state to elect an openly gay governor, and we rank as one of the LGBTQ-friendliest states in the nation.”
“Preserving the stories and culture of Colorado’s LGBTQ community is vital to understanding the significant progress we made over a relatively short period of time,” said Clark. “These are stories that define us all, and we are proud to partner with History Colorado to ensure current and future generations can learn from and appreciate Colorado’s remarkable evolution on LGBTQ rights.”
Thanks to the generosity of the Gill Foundation, History Colorado has been proactively working with the LGBTQ community to build a research archive that preserves and promotes the contributions, history and voices of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community. Potential donors can contact History Colorado at email@example.com.
About Rainbows & Revolutions exhibit:
Rainbows & Revolutions will feature original artifacts from the decades covered in this exhibit. Some of the most compelling items on display include:
Colorful stained glass that hung at the Woman to Woman Feminist Bookcenter on Colfax Ave. in the 1970’s and 80’s;
Governor Jared Polis’s trademark blue tennis shoes that he wore during his historic 2018 gubernatorial campaign;
Drag outfit worn by Juiccy Misdemeanor at Black Pride Colorado;
Striking hot wax artwork created by Maya Youcef-Toumi, a queer Latine femme artist;
Posters from Pride marches, gay magazines, court documents, personal photographs and more.
After its run in Denver, Rainbows & Revolutions will be on display at other History Colorado museums and sites across the state.
Rainbows & Revolutions is included in the cost of a general admission ticket: $14 for adults, $12 for seniors 65+, $10 for students with ID, $8 for children ages 5-15; children 4 and under are free. History Colorado Center is located at 1200 N. Broadway, Denver. For complete information, visit HistoryColorado.org.
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through the History Colorado Center and statewide Community Museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities. Visit HistoryColorado.org or call 303-HISTORY for more information.
About The Gill Foundation
The Gill Foundation is one of the nation’s largest funders of efforts to secure full equality for LGBTQ people. Started in 1994 by software entrepreneur Tim Gill, the Gill Foundation supports nonprofit organizations across the nation that advance the rights of LGBTQ Americans by conducting research, educating the public, telling stories, and working within the legal system. In its home state of Colorado, the foundation also makes grants to organizations working to lower barriers to economic opportunity and create a place where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive. Visit GillFoundation.org for more information.
Thursday, June 2 & Friday, June 3: Interviews and an exhibit preview will be available before Rainbows & Revolutions opens. Construction may be going on but we will show off as much of the exhibit as possible.
Saturday, June 4: Opening night event at History Colorado from 6-8 p.m. Media are encouraged to RSVP to attend. Interview opportunities will be determined that evening.
Click here for a link to high resolution images of items featured in the exhibit.