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Vashon art exhibit spotlights the Queer community

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Pam Ingalls. Jacoby. Blye. Oil,12 x 9
Pam Ingalls. Jacoby. Blye. Oil,12 x 9

A year ago, Vashon artist Pam Ingalls was approached by the mother of a Trans teenager, who suggested that Ingalls paint portraits of the island's Queer youth. Ingalls had already painted several collections of portraits of Vashon subcommunities — Latinos, seniors, and heroes from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic — and she readily agreed to take on the new project.

When she used a Facebook post to request volunteers, she discovered that although parents were eager to have their Queer children participate, most of the kids (including the child of the mother who'd approached Ingalls) weren't ready to go public with their identities.

Ingalls then widened her search to include the entire Vashon Queer community, and many Gay men responded. "I had to beg my Lesbian friends to let me paint them," Ingalls says.

She ended up with a collection of 47 oil portraits, all of which are on exhibit at Dig Deep Gardens' Greenhouse Gallery on Vashon Highway.

Renowned for her ability to capture light falling on objects, scenes, and people, Ingalls worked her magic in creating these portraits. She videotaped each subject and then retreated to her studio for a month or so of intense work. "I paint quickly," she said.

Indeed, her paintings always have a fresh, spontaneous feeling. Each portrait in her new exhibit, titled "Facing Our Queer Community," transmits something essential about the person's presence.

Two of the loveliest are those of a young couple, Jacoby (Jack) Robinson-D'Amore and Blye D'Amore-Robinson, who moved to Vashon together three years ago and now both work at Euphorium, a local cannabis dispensary. "I volunteered to be painted," said Jack, laughing, "and dragged Blye along, and now he's the face of the exhibit."

In her description of the exhibit, Ingalls writes, "Getting to know and painting young people who are exploring their sexual orientation, as well as Gay and Lesbian couples who've been together for decades, has been so interesting. I've learned a lot from these brave souls. I hope we always support and celebrate every kind of diversity — wherever we live. We are really lucky to have each other to learn from, be challenged by, and embrace."

"Facing Our Queer Community" will be on exhibit at Dig Deep Gardens & Art, 19028 Vashon Highway SW, through May 28. The gallery is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. To see photos of the portraits, visit https://pamingalls.com/collections/205002