Preview: Bakersfield Museum of Art Celebrates Pride at Art After Dark

Jocelynn Landon, Reporter

Since 2019, Bakersfield Museum of Art has celebrated National Pride Month at its “Art After Dark” series. When the world shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, BMoA still hosted a virtual edition of Pride After Dark.

According to Lauren Marty, BMoA marketing and communications manager, “Our goal is to bring diverse, visual arts experience to the community.”

Art After Dark’s Pride celebration shows support of that goal by amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ individuals in Bakersfield through a photography exhibition. 

Photo from The Bakersfield Museum of Art Facebook page. Photo taken by Claudia Fuentes.

Faces of Pride: an LGBTQ+ Photography Project, photographed by Jake Tovar in collaboration with Victor Gonzales, Bakersfield Museum Art’s Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, and Rachel Wainwright, owner and curator for RAM Art Gallery, gives a voice to over twenty local Bakersfield LGBTQ+ community members. 

“It’s crucial for the LGBTQ+ community to be represented and protected. People just want to be loved, acknowledged, and accepted…” said Tovar. 

The LGBTQ+ members of this project were all asked the question “What does Pride mean to you?” Tovar expressed that it’s important for Bakersfield, and the LGBTQ+ community, to see representation in order to show aspects of what the community is all about.

“The stories I’ve been told from photographing… have been filled with love, courage, and strength,” said Tovar. 

You will be able to see the Faces of Pride exhibition, sponsored by Dignity Health, and photographed by Tovar at the event and at The BMoA until July 1. 

Additionally, it wouldn’t be an art museum without allowing participants of the night to create something with the community. Local artist Jennifer Williams-Cordova will be helping members paint the night away with a community mural. 

Cordova has been a photographer since 2019, and got involved with BMoA through photo documentation of the events. 

“What I’ve created at this point is like a giant coloring book…I used my past photography to provide meaning and structure,” said Cordova.

Photo from The Bakersfield Museum of Art Facebook page. Photo taken by Claudia Fuentes.

Cordova, with the visions of Gonzales, will release the art project for the first time at Art After Dark. The spark of creativity was a reference from the past Art After Dark photographs that Cordova has shot. 

“I love seeing the community come together in creativity… It’s a great way to celebrate our uniqueness, while also uniting us in love,” expressed Cordova.

Attendees will also get to enjoy DJ Blaise live, food and drinks from local vendors, a digital photobooth, and live performances by LGBTQ+ artists. Additionally, guests will have an opportunity to gain information from local resources such as Joe’s House, CSUB LGBTQ+ Network Club, Clinica Sierra Vista, and many other local services.

This week’s edition of Art After Dark is sponsored by Alta One Federal Credit Union, Moneywise Wealth Management, and Wolf Sprint Distillery. 

The BMoA takes place in a gated garden with private security to ensure the safety of Art After Dark events, and is recommended that attendees are older than 18.

Art After Dark, Pride Edition will be hosted on Thursday, June 29 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 1931 R St. Bakersfield, CA 93301. This event is a ticketed event and is free for members or  $15.00 for non-members. Guests are encouraged to buy tickets in advance due to the limited capacity. 

You can find more information and purchase tickets here: