After another successful Art Explosion exhibit in 2001, Tanya Simmons-Oprah, the Director of Diversity Programming for the Broward County library approached Arts United with a fantastic opportunity. Arts United was offered the prestigious Gallery Six, the largest publicly funded visual art space in Broward Country, for an LGBTQ+ pride exhibit in June of 2001. As one of the core elements of Arts United’s mission is to use the arts to positively impact the public’s perception of the LGBTQ+ community, this opportunity resonated with the organization and they immediately began planning a new exhibit.
United and Proud was developed out of this unique prospect and has since become an annual event. Every June, as a way to honor the support of the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month, United and Proud includes a visual arts display available to the general public. Over the years, ArtsUnited has been extremely fortunate to collaborate with various other LGBTQ+ organizations including the Stonewall National Museum and Archives to include the history of the gay community in America. The opening receptions for United and Proud have included numerous county commissioners and county mayors who emphasize the importance of inclusion and the prominent role Arts United plays in bridging the gap between the LGBTQ+ community and the community at large.
While United and Proud moved to the Gate Community Centre for several years, in 2021 ArtsUnited has planned the first exhibition of United and Proud at Gallery 21 in Wilton Manors. At ArtsUnited they believe that ensuring that this exhibit is produced in a space that is open to the general public to be in alignment with the organization’s mission and ethos.