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My Queer Valentine Reception

February 14, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

This Valentine’s Day, include the Art Center in your evening plans!

Start with Target Gallery’s reception for My Queer Valentine, a playful but poignant show exploring non-heteronormative relationships with a juror and gallery talk with exhibition juror Andy Johnson and participating artists. Stay to enjoy an evening of interactive performance art, a photo op at our kissing booth by exhibiting artist Linda Hesh, DIY art-making activities in the grand hall. Learn more about and support local LGBTQ+ organizations, too.

Free, but RSVP requested.



In the Gallery: 

7- 10pm – photo-op at participating artist, Linda Hesh’s Kissing Booth.

8pm – Juror and gallery talk with exhibition juror Andy Johnson and participating artists.

In The Grand Hall:

“Instigating Bliss: Infinite Love”
Performance & Video by Jessica Kallista (she/her)
Performance Art and Video Art piece for Vis Arts
“The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.”
—Audre Lorde
“Prioritizing ourselves in love is a political strategy, is survival.”
—Adrienne Maree Brown

Love and Bliss are revolutionary acts. We must lay claim to the everyday moments of our lives and demand that they are filled with Love and Bliss.
Rooted in the belief that what we practice we become, Jessica Kallista’s Instigating Bliss: Infinite Love disrupts the passive nihilism intrinsic in many of our everyday lives by countering with the intentional, active, manifestation-oriented pursuit of revolutionary everyday Love and Bliss through meditation and play. She counters with consensual touch, books, sweetness, music, light, flowers, laughter, community, luxury, comfort, pleasure, eroticism, feeling, and sensuousness.
Love sometimes requires only the most minimal of interventions in order to dissolve our mindless programming and help us engage with the gorgeous reality of our interconnectedness and our connectedness to our erotic selves. Jessica invites you to participate with her in her Everyday Love and Bliss Meditation. As a Valentine gift to yourself, love, laugh, taste, touch, dance, play. Slow down. Rest. Acknowledge and embrace the power of your sensual and feeling self.

Video of will be playing throughout the evening with the Live Performance starting at 9pm.

Interactive Performance by Jo Laing (they/them)

“All our sensory input has to pass through the reptilian part of our brain before it even reaches the cortex. Our reptilian brain always asks the same question: is this dangerous or safe?”

—Resmaa Menakem

This interactive performance by Jo Laing will be happening throughout the evening in the grand hall, the goal to foster connection and healing through one-on-one discussion and somatic experiences.  They will also be providing resources to support both mental and physical health in response to stress or trauma.

“Something that being in a queer relationship with a nonbinary person as a nonbinary person has brought up for me again and again is how the inherent trauma of being queer in a society that oppresses and represses queerness can impact our ability to feel safe and seen in our bodies as ourselves. When that trauma remains unprocessed, our nervous system becomes dysregulated, triggering fight or flight responses that make it difficult to connect with ourselves or others. For me, queer love is an act of reclamation; the creation of a sanctuary in which to practice connection somatically in order to rebuild trust in ourselves and the ones we love.

It is through engaging in new narratives and somatic experiences that we create corrective healing experiences. Being able to safely give and receive love from ourselves and others allows us to let go of unhelpful beliefs and reclaim our right to love and pleasure. In Sanctuary, I create a space to share what safety in love feels like, and to demonstrate how consensual connection can be a powerful source of healing.”

— Jo Laing

By Lucas J. Rougeux (he/him)

“Longing” is an hour-long performance piece in which a performer, sitting at one end of a long table, extends a hand and slowly reaches with full body to the chair at the other end of the table. Viewers are welcome to participate by sitting in the empty chair and respond to the performers desire for connection. This piece presents a strenuous desire for connection and forces participants to weigh how far they would go to make connection in spite of the challenges faced.

This performance will start at 9pm.


Tiny Queer Zines
by Kim Sandara (she/her)

2019 Post-Grad Resident Kim Sandara will be displaying and selling her Tiny Queer Zines. Which was a collaborative project done during her residency at the Torpedo Factory Art Center summer . The project was inspired by the kids who would come into her studio and come out to her after reading about Origins of Kin and Kang, the graphic novel she working on her coming out story. She collected anonymous stories from the DMV area from people in the LGBTQ+ community and allies, all centering queer stories/personal experiences. Then she paired the stories randomly to LGBTQ+ and ally artists who were interested in illustrating one. The goal of this project was to bring people together, destigmatize queerness and make queer stories accessible. The final product ended up being dynamic in variation of stories and illustration styles. The zine printing was also fundraised for so that people may purchase them by a donation-basis with a $5.00 minimum.

Learn more about and support local LGBTQ+ organizations!


February 14, 2020
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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Torpedo Factory Art Center

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Alexandria, VA 22314
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