by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
On Friday, May 11, the Gay City Health Project Board of Directors, along with several prominent Gay City supporters, hosted a wine-tasting benefit to raise funds for Project BuildOUT, Gay City's effort to relocate to a new and larger space.
'Cork Screw' took place in the new space, which is currently being renovated. Attendees sampled Argentine wines from four different vintners and viewed a short program about the future of Gay City.
'I think the most exciting thing about moving and building out the space next door, and expanding Gay City, is that it will give us an opportunity to really live into the organization that we've become,' said Fred Swanson, executive director of Gay City.
The new facility will have more than twice the space as their current one, thus allowing Gay City to significantly expand their programs and services.
'Over the years, we've really evolved in the services that we provide,' said Gay City's wellness director, Jeff Rinderle.
For him, the new space will meet not only Gay City's needs but the community's as well. The Gay City Wellness Center will be better prepared to screen, counsel, and provide other health support services, an important thing as Gay City is the leading provider of free HIV and STI testing and counseling in King County.
In addition to offering an expanded wellness program, the staff at Gay City see their new space as a drop-in place for the community, and as a destination - a place to hold events on weekends, or just to come hang out and enjoy some Kaladi Brothers coffee. The cafe will continue to be a part of Gay City.
'Our vision for Project BuildOUT is to create a resource hub and social destination for the LGBT community in Seattle,' say officials. 'A place to gather and connect.'
'This new space is going to allow us to do that,' said Peter Jabin, deputy director of Gay City.
The new Gay City also features a black-box space, which will host theatrical productions, film screenings, poetry events, musical performances, art installations, readings, and community meetings.
'We're designing the performance space so that it's truly multi-purpose,' said Jabin.
The new space also will allow Gay City to significantly expand their library, a growing collection of 5,000 books, CDs, and DVDs, half of which have been in storage and thus not readily available to the public due to the limits of their current space.
'There are a lot of ways to promote Project BuildOUT' and Gay City, said Jabin.
In addition to donating to the Project BuildOUT campaign, the wellness center and the library are seeking volunteers. According to Jabin, even just utilizing Gay City's services helps the organization.
To learn more about Gay City and Project BuildOUT, visit www.gaycity.org/buildout.
Gay City Health Project is a multicultural Gay men's health organization and the leading provider of HIV and STI testing in King County. Their mission is to promote wellness in LGBT communities by providing health services, connecting people to resources, fostering arts, and building community.
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