Both projects highlight LGBTQ+ makers and small businesses in the Montgomery County region.
Media tools for download: https://bit.ly/3NLpZaZ
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA–Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board is pleased to announce a series of initiatives that celebrate LGBTQ+ artists and small businesses in Montgomery County during Pride Month and beyond. A large-scale art display, highlighting LGBTQ+ artists in the market, will be installed at the region’s premiere shopping destination, King of Prussia Mall, located in The Connector corridor across from Macy’s. Additionally, Valley Forge Tourism’s Make It Main Street marketing campaign will highlight a number of LGBTQ+ small businesses in Montgomery County through a series of video and cross-platform media promotions.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Pride Month by showing our support of the region’s LGBTQ+ community, not only during June, but all year long,” notes Valley Forge Tourism’s Associate Vice President of Communications Rachel Riley. “As an organization, we are dedicated to ensuring that LGBTQ+ residents, visitors, and small businesses, along with their allies, are welcomed and celebrated in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Our Pride Month initiatives are just a small part of our efforts to ensure that Valley Forge is an ideal destination for tourism, industry, and artists.”
To start, Valley Forge Tourism has partnered with the King of Prussia Mall, the country’s leading shopping destination, to feature six works of art by LGBTQ+ artists who produce their work or have it displayed in one of Montgomery County’s dozens of galleries. The display is part of the Tourism and Convention Board’s ongoing Arts Montco initiative, which highlights the county’s over 200 arts and entertainment venues, attractions, and galleries. The arts and culture sector represents $100 million in positive economic impact for Montgomery County, not to mention hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs.
Artists featured in this new display include Aaron Feltman (he/him), Kayla Cayemitte (she/her), Joe “Mac” McFetridge (he/him), Anthony Casasanto (he/him), Meg Wolensky (she/they), and Chelsey Luster (she/they). The installation is free and open to the public. For more information on Arts Montco, visit artsmontco.com. Full bios on the artists are below.
Additionally, Valley Forge Tourism’s Make It Main Street campaign, which celebrates local entrepreneurs in the region, will profile a number of LGBTQ+ small business owners and makers in the Montgomery County market. The campaign will promote custom video and marketing collateral through their social media outlets and website throughout the month of June and beyond. Some sample videos can be found here:
The goal of the Make It Main Street campaign is to influence consumers to shop local and support the wide variety of businesses and organizations in the Valley Forge market. More information can be found at valleyforge.org/make-it-main-street/.
Anthony Casasanto (he/him) grew up in South Philadelphia, and was more interested in art and learning to cook pasta dishes and pastries with my mother than playing sports. Anthony went to Catholic schools, and then to the Philadelphia College of Art. He made a living as a chef and owned a restaurant in Cape May. Anthony left the restaurant business and now devotes himself to painting. A nature lover and bird watcher, Anthony travels with his husband to places of natural beauty. He believes paintings nourish the spirit, enhance and deepen the quality of life, and unite the vision of the artist with that of the viewer. Through his work, primarily still life and landscape painting, Anthony hopes to express philosophies and deepest emotions, and share the gifts of intellect and creativity.
Kayla Cayemitte (she/her) is a junior at Ursinus College studying Biology, with minors in art and ethics with aspirations to obtain a PhD in Marine Biology. Kayla owns a small photography business, Kayla Cayemitte Photography, which specializes in couple photography, weddings, and graduations.
Aaron Feltman (he/him) holds a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 2019, he participated in the Yale Norfolk summer residency. His work is currently included in a group show at the Abington Art Center. In his paintings Aaron explores the psychological space that exists between two people and the boundaries that confine partners within an intimate relationship. Using vibrant washes of paint, Aaron creates an enveloping world of color that absorbs the viewer in like a tender embrace.
Chelsey Luster (she/they) is a Philadelphia-based curator, visual artist and art educator from Baltimore, Maryland. Luster received their BFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture and attended a residency at Chautauqua School of Art. As a curator, Luster has organized multiple group exhibitions, was a Katheryn Pannepacker Curatorial Fellow at the Da Vinci Art Alliance, and is currently developing their curatorial practices as a Vox Populi member and Exhibition Manager at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Luster's work centers itself around intimacy, vulnerability, and privacy through depictions of domestic spaces with a focus on the bathroom. The bathroom serves as a setting to explore queer black womanhood with regards to lack of privacy, invasion of the black queer body, power structures, and isolation.
Joe McFetridge (he/him), lovingly and professionally referred to as Joe Mac, is an Ardmore-based Photographer specializing in capturing people at their best. Joe graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education but his passion for photography dates back to his childhood. Specifically Joe recounts his very first Blue Ribbon win in the Goshen Fair Photography contest as the moment he realized photography was his calling. Whether he is photographing clients for work, for fun, or to capture an important event in their lives, it is always his mission to provide them with images that are noteworthy, refined, and really make their heart sing. Joe looks at the world through a uniquely artistic lens, and now leverages more than ten years of experience doing professional photography. He has worked with amazing clients throughout Montgomery County and is always up for an adventure to parts unknown.
Meg Wolensky (She/They) is a queer artist living with CPTSD who uses artmaking as a healing practice to unveil truths hidden by trauma and moments of joy in recovery. In the aftermath, Wolensky translates colorful fragments of experiences, memories, and dreams into a cohesive whole. This evolving investigation takes physical form in paintings, drawings, photography and collages that layer cross-sections of personal narrative. Originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Meg now resides in Philadelphia and exhibits and curates exhibitions on the east coast at venues including the Woodmere Museum of Art, Abington Art Center, Main Line Art Center, University City Arts League, Bunker Projects, Kutztown University, and the Philadelphia Sketch Club. She serves as the Director of Continuing Education at Moore College of Art & Design, where Meg is passionate about designing accessible arts experiences and work-readiness opportunities for marginalized professional artists and youth in need. Outside of creating and working, she lends professional curatorial, grant-writing, art handling, and arts nonprofit administration strategy services to other queer artists, students, organizations and initiatives. Meg has also worked as an art educator for creative students experiencing incarceration and re-entry. They continue to advocate for arts access for those impacted by the criminal justice system.
The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500+ member hotels, restaurants, attractions, and services. The award-winning website links visitors, meeting planners, tour operators, and residents to a diverse portfolio of brands focused on reasons to visit the region.