Colour By Icons at FYF Festival

In August, I attended the FYF Festival in Los Angeles. Along with Never Apart’s Executive Director, Michael Venus; Lightspeed’s PR Director, Bradley Grill; and transgender actress, performance artist and activist, Candis Cayne, I set out to share Colour By Icons: Never Apart’s LGBT historical coloring book, that teaches about the history of LGBT pioneers in a fun, colorful way. After seeing how the book impacted people at Never Apart’s opening art exhibition last summer, we wanted to bring it to a wider audience.

As our first festival activation, it was hard to know what to expect. Would the book appeal to people? Would our mission excite them? I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Most of my work with Never Apart has taken place in Montreal and we’ve built an incredible community around it. Would our philosophy resonate outside of the city?

Following on the success of Montreal’s event, we decided to go with the tried and tested. Our space was interactive, with coloring books and colored pencils covering every surface. To our surprise, our tent was busy from the minute we opened until we had to shut things down. By the end of the festival, we had amassed albums of filled out coloring book pages.

When I think back on the event, I can’t help but smile. To be at a festival with so much to see and do, yet still having such an engaged audience, is truly validating. Over those three days, we met amazing people from every walk of life. And while we learned a lot about them, I couldn’t help but feel that they also learned a lot about the pioneers of our community. With every conversation, you could see the lights going off in people’s heads about the importance and significance of that history. In fact, the project was so well received that we knew we had to keep the momentum going, and over the next months, Never Apart will be partnering with the LA LGBT centre to help get Colour by Icons into the hands of their youth programs.

But we’re not stopping there! Since our success at FYF Fest, we’re hoping to share it in other cities around the globe. The goal? To raise awareness and raise funds for LGBT programming. Because after all, we can’t know our purpose and potential as a community if we don’t know our heroes!

Colour By Icons LA was featured at FYF in the Vans craft tent and co-presented with our friends at non-profit Plus1.org. You can order the coloring book online at shop.neverapart.com, powered by Lightspeed eCom.