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Noyes Museum in Hammonton presents "Drag is Not a Crime" Exhibit

originally published: 05/30/2024

Noyes Museum in Hammonton presents "Drag is Not a Crime" Exhibit

(HAMMONTON, NJ) -- A bold new exhibit just in time for Pride Month titled "Drag is Not a Crime" challenges societal norms and celebrates the vibrant world of drag as a form of self-expression and empowerment.

“We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to showcase the drag community, a vibrant and essential part of our society and queer culture. Our exhibit blends history with glamour to educate and entertain. Its rich legacy and dazzling vignettes will captivate viewers while highlighting the importance of diversity, acceptance and self-expression,” said Maximilian Rodio, president of Hammonton Pride

The free exhibit, which will be displayed at the Noyes Museum of Art at Stockton University Galleries at Kramer Hall from June 4 to September 29, will feature a collection of visual artwork, fashion designs, photography and performance pieces, and it seeks to dismantle prejudice and stereotypes surrounding drag culture.

Noyes Museum in Hammonton presents "Drag is Not a Crime" Exhibit

“The exhibition is a beacon of hope and acceptance, fostering a sense of belonging and pride within the community, while showcasing the power of self-expression and the beauty of diversity," said Michael Cagno, the executive director of the Noyes Museum.

Cagno said the exhibit will explore the history of drag artists and invite viewers to question preconceived notions about gender, identity and beauty.



 
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“We are excited to showcase the art of drag and the process of this art from start to finish and why it is an inspiration to our community,” said artist Miss Maddy Milan. “This show honors gay, queer and trans people by highlighting drag's rich history and culture. Drag amplifies and reflects LGBTQIA+ people’s pride in themselves, and it brings people together. Our show aims to educate and celebrate this vibrant artform and its impact on our community.”

Other parts of the exhibit include a section focusing on gay icons such as Judy Garland; the dresses, jewels and scepter donated by Milan after being named the inaugural 2022 Miss Hammonton Pride; and the controversy surrounding the first LGBTQIA+ representation at Hammonton’s Christmas Parade. Another section looks at LGBTQIA+ history in Atlantic City and viewers are encouraged to create their own drag name and share it as part of the exhibit.

Noyes Museum in Hammonton presents "Drag is Not a Crime" Exhibit

“I have the privilege of both working for Stockton and being a part of Hammonton Pride. Since suggesting a collaboration between both organizations just over a year ago, I have watched this exhibition grow beyond anything I could have imagined,” said Nick Zebrowski, a marketing and event specialist at Stockton’s Kramer Hall. “To be able to offer a space to amplify the voices and talents of LGBTQIA+ artists, as well as to showcase the complex and profound history of the queer community in southern New Jersey is something of which I am incredibly proud. In working on this exhibition, I have learned that even in the face of adversity, there is always beauty to be found.”

The exhibit’s opening reception will take place on Thursday, June 6, at Kramer Hall (30 Front Street) in Hammonton from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Live music and refreshments will be available. Kramer Hall will also host a screening of the movie “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” on June 20 at 6:00pm.

“This exhibit is joy! It's a celebration! And all are welcome,” Milan added.

Kramer Hall is open 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday. For more information, call 609-626-3805.

Noyes Museum in Hammonton presents "Drag is Not a Crime" Exhibit

Stockton University is ranked among the top public universities in the nation. Their more than 9,000 students can choose to live and learn on the 1,600-acre wooded main campus in the Pinelands National Reserve in South Jersey and at our coastal residential campus just steps from the beach and Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The university offers more than 160 undergraduate and graduate programs.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CAGNO, STOCKTON UNIVERSITY



 
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