ODU Hosts Portraits in Pride

Portraits+in+Pride+featured+artist+Connor+Taylor%2C+pictured.+Photo+via+ODU+Women+%26+Gender+Equity+Center.

Portraits in Pride featured artist Connor Taylor, pictured. Photo via ODU Women & Gender Equity Center.

Rachel Mantos, Contributing Writer

Connor Taylor was the featured artist at the Women & Gender Equity Center’s Portraits in Pride event on April 7, 2022. 

The event is one of many being held this month by Old Dominion’s LGBTQIA+ Initiatives for the university’s celebration of pride month. Students were led by Taylor as they painted self-portraits.

“Celebrating pride month is very important to those in the community and those in support of the community, so it’s nice to be able to have events like this and be able to honor that,” said Aiesha Jones, graduate assistant for the LGBTQIA+ Initiatives.

The LGBTQIA+ Initiatives is a sector within the Women & Gender Equity Center. The initiative works by combining women, gender, and equity together to make ODU’s campus more inclusive and celebrate all cultures and identities.

Taylor is a student at Tidewater Community College. He became involved with the Portraits in Pride event through his store manager at Starbucks, who is the husband of Andrew Garber, the Coordinator of LGBTQIA+ Programs and Services at ODU.

Taylor has been an artist his whole life. “I’ve only [been] painting probably like four or five years, really putting time toward it,” he said. He tries to be an artist in everything he does, from cooking to when he used to work in contracting.

Taylor’s siblings are the reason he initially became interested in painting. “We always played music and would paint all the time. I realized I had a knack for it, and I felt the flow of paint on canvas, and just pursued it,” he said.

“There’s a peace when I paint,” said Taylor. He’s drawn to painting for the feeling of serenity it gives him. “When I’m on the canvas painting, I really focus and forget about it all.”

The WGEC is holding events throughout ODU’s pride month, culminating in Rainbow Graduation on May 5th, which celebrates the LGBTQIA+ students who graduated in fall 2021, or are graduating in spring and summer of 2022.

Students can find more information on how to get involved with ODU’s LGBTQIA+ Initiatives on the WGEC page of the ODU website or on their Instagram.

Taylor has a website that will be up and running soon at vbartist.com where he will showcase his paintings.