Ken Nebel at Village Arts on DP Road/Courtesy photo
BY KELLY DOLEJSI
Friends of Los Alamos Pride
This series of mini-profiles aims to highlight as many LGBTQIA-friendly local businesses as possible. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you own a business or run an organization and want to extend your support to Los Alamos Pride Week which begins June 6. Regardless of whether you own a business, please follow Los Alamos Pride on Facebook and Los Alamos Pride Week on Instagram to learn more about upcoming events.
“People see the Art Center as a safe space,” said Ken Nebel, owner of Village Arts and the assistant director of the Art Center at Fuller Lodge. Indeed, Nebel and his staff, several of whom identify as LGBTQ+, have worked to create an environment where artists, students, and patrons can safely express themselves and “delve deeply into themselves.”
“A lot of LBGTQ+ people have had to go through a rougher journey to find their true selves, and to be recognized by others as who they are,” Nebel said. “We need to show solidarity. There are people going through that journey right now, and I want to show up for them. Pride helps you know you’re not going through it alone. There is a community. Pride is about community.”
He added, “As business people, we want to foster community in any way possible.”
The Art Center helped jumpstart Pride Week in 2018, which took place on both outside and inside Fuller Lodge. Nebel said this year, with events happening in a variety of locations instead of at one centralized festival, their support looks a little different. But while the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the layout, Nebel and the art community he fosters continue to advocate for Pride.
The Art Center is under the direction of the Los Alamos Arts Council (LAAC), which aims to be “a safe space for artistic expression. In its core values are to be a safe space,” Nebel said. “Its also very important for the Art Center to support people on their journeys of self-discovery.”