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Dyke, Lesbian, Queer, Wife, Woman, Stepmother, Sister, Daughter, Artist...HUMAN

Kelly Pontoni -Biography


As a proud lesbian (DYKE artist), my work consists of LGBTQ+ issues with an emphasis on the AIDS epidemic. In the last few years I have graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art at the age of 50, had a full-time job as the Collections Register at the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve and been the curator of three LGBTQ+ exhibitions. I was the head curator of CONVERGE, Northeast Ohio’s largest LGBTQ+ art exhibition, which spanned five venues, included 80 artists and the show was the winner of the Ohio Museum Award of Achievement for Best Community Partnership (under $500,000) in 2021. 


Currently I have a contract with Cleveland’s LGBT Center for 4 quarterly art exhibitions of queer artists in our new and beautiful Center. This is an opportunity to exhibit established artists as well as new and upcoming talent. The Center staff and myself also have some ideas of creating an exhibition where established artists mentor young and upcoming artists.


In July 2022, Queer Pulse…The Ripple Effect opened at Lakeland Community College. Queer Pulse consisted of 20 artists from the  Cleveland LGBTQ+ community including students to well established artists. These artists pushed the boundaries of Lake County where diversity and acceptance is not as visible.

Kelly Pontoni - Artists Statement

The exploration, mystery, and repetitiveness is what attracts me to printmaking.  The laborious process has a deep connection with the content of my work. This medium allows me to meditate through technique and emotional connection with the final outcome. Spending time with an image, whether I am creating a file, coating a screen, carving wood or linoleum allows me to connect with the concept of the piece. (Or something like that….)


The process of making allows time to pass when I am able to connect with the piece and decide how I would like the outcome. The printing process then adds more time, contemplation, meditation, and intent. You kind of say this already above.


I believe artists have a responsibility to express issues in our art. This may not be the same for all artists, but I have a strong belief that in making art this way, I am able to educate, make a statement,  and create an opportunity to heal myself.


As a middle-aged woman, growing up as a lesbian in a time when the world was not tolerant, as well as learning from and listening to the younger generations of queer people, has a strong influence on my work. Addressing the history of the LGBTQ movement, with an emphasis on the AIDS epidemic has also had a significant impact on my work.


Today’s world has so much content that I feel challenged to express human connection and human rights through my art making.

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