Jamie says: My love for photography and passion for museums brought me to Rochester three times. Each time I made the move from my home state of Arizona, and each time I learned a little more about the community here in Rochester. I began volunteering at the Alliance to support my wife and her efforts for the community. What I found is a group of loving people who cared deeply about preserving our past and making our collective futures brighter.
My first project with the Alliance was through the Shoulders to Stand On project, organizing and rehousing photographs collected for the Empty Closet. Admittedly, when I began, I knew little about LGBTQ and Rochester history. After we completed creating a method for documenting and finding the images held in that collection, we began to volunteer in the library. I discovered that the library is a vast resource available to individuals inside and outside of this community, and a true gem offered by the Alliance.
In 2013 I was asked to help create an exhibition about local LGBTQ history. Again, my knowledge of our collective and local history grew through the other amazing volunteers that worked on the project with me. When I had the opportunity to see others experience this history during the exhibition Forging Alliances, I understood just how far our community has come in a short time, but also how much more we have to work towards.
When the Alliance moved to its new space last year, my wife and I shifted our focus to use our skillset to coordinate exhibitions for Gallery Q. As a space for all members of our community, I enjoy attending first Friday openings and welcoming individuals who did not previously know about the Resource Center at the Alliance, but suddenly find themselves not only welcomed but treated to a cultural experience.
Similarly, as a volunteer with ImageOut as part of the art exhibition committee, I am constantly reminded of just how expansive the resources in our community are, as the festival and its related events provide a place to appreciate the accomplishments and creative abilities of artists around the world.
In addition, I have enjoyed volunteering with my wife for ROC Pride and Ride for Pride the past two years. While I may not be an activist at heart, I know that the Gay Alliance provides vital support and programing for people in all stages of life. As a member of this community, the Alliance continually provides me with opportunities to make friends, strengthen our community, and expand my knowledge of the issues that face me in the world. Not everyone has such a place filled with love in the town that they live in, so for that reason I volunteer my time to preserve our collective history and to make our sense of community stronger