It'll be a who's who local politics Saturday at the grand opening for the LGBT Center 1456 Junction Ave. in Uptown.
Mayor Tom Friedel, City Council President David Maack and Alderman Michael Shields will be joined by County Supervisor Diane Lange, Aldermen Bob Anderson and Greg Helding, State Sen. John Lehman and State Rep. Cory Mason.
The center, billed as the Racine/Kenosha LGBT Center, is also expected to bring Kenosha Supervisor Dayvin Hallmon and Alderman Anthony Kennedy. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
The grand opening is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will include a tour through center and its art gallery.
Local businesses, professionals and organizations – including members of the Uptown Merchants Association that formally endorsed the LGBT Center’s special day – are welcoming their newest neighbor with sales at their stores and giveaways at the Center.
Door prizes ranging from gift certificates to dinners for two have been provided by Corner House and Out of the Pan restaurants, the Racine Merchandise Mart, Antique Junction, Avenue Antiques, the Brass Monkey, Schmitt Music, Uptown Transfer, and Dr. Richard Kemper.
Following the ribbon-cutting and open house, a "Pink Tie Gala Dinner" will be held at Kenosha’s Club ICON to honor and support the Center. Featuring food prepared and presented by some of the area’s leading restaurants and caterers, the gala also includes entertainment and a silent auction boasting original artwork, getaways, autographed books, and Armani sculptures. All proceeds will benefit the LGBT Center.
In addition to the April 4th festivities, programs during the LGBT Center’s opening month include an art gallery comprising distinguished works organized by the Lemon Street Gallery; a discussion of the film Fried Green Tomatoes; “The History of Drag: A Peculiar Retrospective,” presented by UW-Parkside’s Rainbow Alliance; “Dancing with the Stars” a demonstration of popular ballroom and disco dances; and “How Healthy is Your Relationship?” a discussion and support group led by relationship expert and Women’s Resource Center Director Cherie Griffin.
May’s activities already include a workshop on goal-setting led by Karen Carnabucci, LCSW; the first monthly LGBT Domestic Abuse Support Group meeting; a discussion of the favorite gender-bender film Steel Magnolias; the initial meeting of an LGBT Teens group; and “The Age of Eros?” the first in the LGBT Center’s Distinguished Speaker Series sponsored by Educators Credit Union.
The Center is open daily from 2:00 – 6:00 pm (except Tuesdays and Sundays) for drop-ins by teenagers and students seeking a safe place to meet, do their homework, conduct research using free Internet access as well as a large library of LGBT-specific books and periodicals, and get together in an affirming and supportive environment. The Center is also open from 10 am until noon daily (except Tuesdays and Sundays) to welcome anyone who would like to stop in.
Special events, open to the public, are held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
The mission of the LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin is two-fold:
(1) To provide a safe and supportive environment through which LGBT people, their family, friends and allies from Racine, Kenosha and surrounding areas can access needed community, social, educational, and health-related services; and
(2) To link the LGBT population of Racine and Kenosha with the many non-profit and cause-oriented organizations operating in this area and across the state.
A 21-member Board of Directors led by President Steven Brown, Ph.D., will guide the new organization in its efforts to provide needed services and to integrate it within the larger community.
Other Racine directors of the LGBT Center are Michael Dobrowski, Lisa Thielke, Julie Anne Dresen, Sylvia Acheson, Mark Bridgeman, Rev. Dr. Tony Larsen, Charles McDonald, Christopher Scott Rosen, Steve Wanberg, Russell Warren, and Steve Wingert.
Kenosha directors include the Hon. Dayvin Hallmon, Len Iaquinta, Clint Jones, Dr. Chris Renaud, Chantal Smith, Franco Tarsitano, Rev. Georgette Wonders, and Neil Zeltinger.
Complete details about the purposes, programs, services and activities of the LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin are found (and updated) regularly on its Web site: www.lgbtsewisc.org. Telephone: 262.664.4100. Fax: 262.664.4104,
For more information, to arrange an interview or tour of the facility, please contact Executive Director Bruce Joffe at 262.995.5084. E-mail: email@example.com.