Growing Our Own Gardens

“Grown out of my discomfort of not knowing the histories of my LGBTQ+ ancestors or the communities I was a part of, I began working with LGBTQ+ artists and communities to surface those stories and connect with queer folks of all ages. I wanted to know what a process that centered queer joy and hardship- across generations- would look like. I wanted to know how this could change my relationship to the places I lived and worked. I wanted to cultivate a different understanding of what it means to be queer in this country- for me and, hopefully, others.” — Matthew Cumbie

Growing Our Own Gardens is a intergenerational performance project rooted in queer world-making. This body of work has evolved- now with support from Dance Exchange- into an iterative process that partners with local LGBTQ+ artists and organizations in multiple cities to use performance and engagement as a platform to surface stories, struggles, and possibilities of queer communities: to reflect and re-imagine LGBTQ+ life in our communities and country.

Since 2015, this body of work has had a number of iterations, ranging in scale, scope and formality; central in its organizing has been a commitment to both performance and engagement. Starting in 2016, a creative team for Gardens began cultivating partnerships and opportunities in Washington, DC, leading to: a series of intergenerational LGBTQ+ workshops and Queer History Walks with the DC Center, the Human Rights Commission of Rockville, and the Rainbow History Project; an evening-length performance of a queer history, unfolding at Dance Place; and a model for how this process could look with other communities. As this work continues, Growing Our Own Gardens is now seeding other iterations in the Boston-area, western Massachusetts, and north Texas.

For a full timeline of Growing Our Own Gardens, click here.

Photo by Ben Carver, featuring Andy Torres, Sam Horning and Jazzmin St. James D’Monaco in Growing Our Own Gardens: a queer world, unfolding