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Community Advocacy Organization

ARTIST LOOKS TO DRIVE VOTER REGISTRATION AT UPCOMING GALA CELEBRATING LGBTQIA+ PEOPLE OF COLOR



Saturday, September 24th from 7pm-10pm

The Xperience Kalamazoo

145 Farmers Alley

Kalamazoo, MI 49007


(Kalamazoo, MI) – Artist Maya James is presenting the Come As You Are “Gay-la”, a celebration of LGBTQIA+ people of color, on Saturday, September 24th from 7pm-11pm at The Xperience located in Farmer’s Alley in Kalamazoo, MI. The event will feature a silent auction of Maya James exclusive art series entitled “Faces PT III”, a collection of over 30 original painted portraits featuring black and queer/trans community members, leaders, legends and entertainers. General Admission Tickets are available for $10 with VIP Tickets available for $40, with a generous portion of the proceeds going to support local nonprofits including Radical Kalamazoo & OutFront Kalamazoo. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.eventbrite.com/e/come-as-you-are-gayla-hosted-by-maya-james-art-studio-tickets-403604962307


The "Come As You Are Gayla!" will be the first of its kind in Kalamazoo. It is a community celebration of Black Pride to empower the LBGTQIA+ people of color to vote and create a safer place for all. “Faces Pt III” is the third collection of portrait paintings in a series by Artist Maya James entitled “Faces”, featuring LGBTQIA+ legends and community members of color. During the Gala, all the pieces in the collection will be put up for silent auction with each piece starting at $100. A portion of the proceeds will go to support Legacy House, an LGBTQIA+ youth housing facility created by Outfront Kalamazoo. The event will feature a DJ, Music, Hors D'oeuvres, fun, and dancing as part of the evening’s festivities. There will also be a cash bar to purchase signature cocktails, curated by The Xperience Event Venue in Farmer’s Alley.


Another component of the event is an initiative to register voters for the upcoming November election. Representatives from local community groups will be in attendance at the event to register voters, and local political figures will be in attendance. “Now more than ever, black queer issues must be put to the forefront and streamlined in the face of radical racist, anti-LGBTQIAP+, and anti-choice candidates within our state,” said James. “This benefit is how we fight back with the vote.” In addition to getting registered to vote, attendees can also sign up for text message reminders of election dates, and get more information on how they can help spread the importance of the Black Vote.


Funding Credit:

The Come As You Are Gala is sponsored by Black Voters Matter & the Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative, a program by The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and Outfront Kalamazoo.


For more information on the Come As You Are Gala & to purchase tickets visit:


For more information on Artist Maya James visit:


For more information on The Xperience visit:


For more information on OutFront Kalamazoo visit:








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