Trans* Art and Video Project

About the Project

This project was initiated by local artist, Craig Matis, after his friends, who have a transgender child, invited him to attend the Trans Family support group at the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland. Craig was moved by the stories he heard there and later sent letters to local galleries proposing the idea of a transgender art exhibit, in hopes of sharing the voice of trans* people to a wider audience.

The Waterloo Arts Gallery Committee was eager to explore the topic and partner on this project. Waterloo Arts consulted trans* individuals to help refine the parameters of the show and share their perspectives. For those who have not experienced gender as being separate from biological birth sex, it may be natural to assume they are tethered together. One may better understand the difference between gender identity and biological sex by listening to those that were born feeling a disconnect between the two parts. When those two parts of a person are not aligned, trans* individuals must often risk safety and security in order to be their true self.  For this project Waterloo Arts wants to provide a way to explore the topic of gender identity from three angles; visual art, story-telling and education.

Visual Arts Project

I AM: a trans* art exhibit

The exhibit, “I Am” opens Friday, April 3 and features 15 artists from around the country sharing their experience as trans* individuals. The work presented in this exhibit includes, painting, print, sculpture, ceramics and photography. The artists’ perspectives range from humorous to anguished and challenge us to think more broadly about gender, beauty and the human form.

Opening night festivities include outdoor light installations, live music by Christine Louis and performance art by Christine Howey. After the wine and cheese reception, we’ll continue the revelry at the Beachland Ballroom in an after-party courtesy of Ohio Burlesque and DJ David Tasslehoff! Trans ally t-shirts, posters, stickers and buttons are for sale with the proceeds benefiting Margie’s Hope.

Participating Artists: Seyi Adebanjo, Ianna Book, Raisa Cabrera, Mara Goldfine, Nicki Green, Golden H/ours, Alex Holland, Oliver Klicker, Zoe Renee Lapin, Kean O’Brien, Iram Roberts, Gavin Rouille, Maxx Sizeler, Kate Weakley, Milo Wissig.

Selection Committee: Evan Fusco, Lorence Hyler, Craig Matis, Jeanette Thomas, and Douglas Max Utter.

Video Project

To help share the stories and experiences of Northeast Ohio’s trans community, Cleveland independent filmmaker Mai-Kim Dang is recording interviews which are posted on our website and shared via social media outlets.

We have also set up a camera application on our website which allows people to record their own videos. We encourage trans individuals or anyone who is part of that community – parents, friends, siblings, or children – to share their stories during the next two months of the exhibit.


In addition to the Trans Training and Panel Talk, on March 15th, we are partnering with Sistah Sinema to host a documentary film screening night on May 1 followed by post film discussion.

Special Thanks

We would like to thank our partner, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center of Greater Cleveland for their support in making this project possible. We would also like to thank Equality Ohio, Jacob Nash and Zoe Renee Lapin for their encouragement and help in planning.

This project was made possible by a generous grant from the City of Cleveland Cable Minority Arts and Education Fund.