Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-01-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Quare Square focuses on queer artists of color
by Melissa Wasserman

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Quare Square Collective, Inc. gives the spotlight to Chicago's queer-identified artists of color.

Chicago native M Shelly Conner, Ph.D., is a multidisciplinary, multigenre writer and scholar—and the founder and executive director of Quare Square, which she calls "a labor of love." In addition, she has a novel she is exploring publishing options for, has a comedy Web series in development with OpenTV and is pitching different types of journals for her essays. Her writing talent extends to writing a travel blog on Tumblr called "Dapper Vista" that is aimed toward dapper queer women, like herself. For that project she has been traveling domestically and internationally and visiting social spaces with an interest in what it looks like and what it means to be a dapper queer woman of color in these different spaces and locations.

Also, she has done academic work and presents at academic conferences. Last year she taught at Loyola University.

"I was looking for support being a queer woman of color and also an academic and an artist," said Conner. "I just didn't find a lot of places out there. It was creating a space for people like me that we don't often see and a resource especially on the South Side of Chicago because most of the time when you think LGBTQ, everything is located on the North Side. So we do, artists of color, pack up and we haul ourselves to the North Side time and time again to support events and organizations and we don't really see that same level of support coming across to the other side of the city. I wanted to be able to be a part of that solution by building a bridge between the two communities that are very much divided by race."

Quare Square began in May 2013 as a monthly open-mic event for queer women of color and allies. POW-WOW, Inc. ( Performers or Writers- Women on Women's Issues ), Conner said, is the group's "literary foremother. "POW-WOW hosted weekly open mic nights on Chicago's South Side, specifically for Black lesbians and their allies until 2012. Quare Square differs with its openness to all queer-identified LGBTQ people of color and all artists, including visual artists, culinary artists, singers, dancers, actors and filmmakers.

"It left a hole in the community, particularly on the South Side," Conner said about the end of POW-WOW's open mics. "So, I started the open mics [for Quare Square] and then I just realized there was so much more work and support that the community needed, particularly for queer artists of color, largely located on the predominantly Black South Side of Chicago. So, I decided to make it into a non-profit that provided more programming and services and networking for that community."

Quare Square's mission statement, as stated on its website, is to be "an artists collective that seeks to support LGBTQ artists of color in the Midwest by facilitating collaborative works; marketing and advertising; and publication and performances."

Quare Square does open its open mics every second Tuesday night of the month at Jeffery Pub, 7041 S. Jeffery Blvd. The group also co-presents Street Dreamers open mic every first and third Tuesday of the month at the pub. Conner described the open mics as friendly, welcoming and interactive.

The organization also offers Sistah Sinema, a bimonthly screening of films by or about queer women of color. Quare Square delivers Sistah Sinema in partnership with UIC's Gender and Sexuality Center and Gallery 400. The event is held at Gallery 400, located at 400 S. Peoria St.

"Initially, the idea was to have a network of queer artists of color to serve as a support system for them, but also a place where people knew where to go and look if you really wanted to have a more inclusive representation and events and things like that," said Conner.

Currently, Quare Square is a small non-profit organization with four board members, four leadership roles including Conner and a total membership of less than 20. Conner said the priority for 2016 is to gain more interest. She added they are actively seeking new members, tech savvy interns, program/event sponsorships and donations.

"We're looking to increase our membership and increase our partnerships with other organizations and venues, so we can do more programming," said Conner. "We'd like to be able to host writing workshops and retreats for our members and other members of the community at large and one of the personal projects I would be really interested in doing some fundraising because I would really like to provide scholarships to our members who have been accepted to present or attend arts conferences. That's what's in the works."

Conner added her biggest dream for Quare Square is that it someday resembles Cave Canem, a non-profit organization for Black poets.

"It's just this cadre of black poets, so I would like Quare Square to be similar to that; to be able to host writing retreats like they do, boast a really great membership like they have and also be able to command a certain amount of respect and interest from the arts community at large," said Conner. "That's my vision for Quare Square, to be that type of organization that people are submitting membership applications to all the time and then we're also able to make good on the level of support that I'd like to be able to provide our members with. One of the other things I'd like to be able to do is have an annual collaborative project for our members."

For more information about Quare Square Collective, Inc., visit .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

PASSAGES Annie O'Dowd 2019-01-16 - Ann "Annie" O'Dowd, of The Villages, Florida, passed away Dec. 26, 2018. Annie was born on April 26, 1929 in Chicago. She was ...

Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL A poem and a plant 2019-01-16 - The day was typical for the Pacific Northwest. The brightening sky had stopped sputtering its fine dewdrops for the moment, the wind had ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE Kristina Valada-Viars: Out actress discusses lengthy career 2019-01-16 - Out actress Kristina Valada-Viars continues to expand her life in theater. A big part of this is thanks to the Steppenwolf and ...

Gay News

Affinity's Burning Bowl honors former leader Kim Hunt 2019-01-15 - About a hundred people gathered for Affinity Community Services' annual kick-off event, Burning Bowl, Jan. 12 at Morgan Park United Methodist Church ( ...

Gay News

Times Square site of WorldPride Closing Ceremony, Melissa Etheridge to perform 2019-01-15 - NEW YORK, NY, JANUARY 15, 2019 — NYC Pride, the official host of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50, is thrilled to announce further ...

Gay News

LPAC endorses Lori Lightfoot for Mayor 2019-01-15 - Washington, DC ( January 15, 2019 ) — LPAC, the only organization devoted to building the political power of LGBTQ women, announced the ...

Gay News

Chicago Sky players wed 2019-01-09 - Chicago Sky teammates Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley got married in Seattle Dec. 27, according to the women's basketball website Seattle is ...

Gay News

Women & Children First bookstore events include Shout Your Abortion 2019-01-09 - Women & Children First Loves Chicago Books to Women in Prison Donation Drive January 2 through February 14 We're kicking off the new ...

Gay News

'San Antonio Four' have records cleared 2019-01-09 - Four Texas women who were imprisoned almost 15 years after being wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting two young girls have finally had their ...

Gay News

Annual Burning Bowl Jan. 12 at Morgan Park 2019-01-09 - Affinity Community Services is hosting its annual kick-off event, Burning Bowl, on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, 1-4 p.m., at Morgan Park UMC at ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.