Photographic exhibit celebrating LGBTQ milestones debuts at Palm Beach's Royal Poinciana Plaza

·4 min read
Compass Community Center Executive Director Julie Seaver, from left, Compass Chief Development Officer Julia Murphy, Royal Poinciana Plaza Marketing Director Dana Filetti, and Historical Society of Palm Beach County Director of Development Taylor Materio stand in front of the "A Place for Pride” exhibit June 23 at the Royal Poinciana Plaza.
Compass Community Center Executive Director Julie Seaver, from left, Compass Chief Development Officer Julia Murphy, Royal Poinciana Plaza Marketing Director Dana Filetti, and Historical Society of Palm Beach County Director of Development Taylor Materio stand in front of the "A Place for Pride” exhibit June 23 at the Royal Poinciana Plaza.

As Pride Month continues, a new photographic exhibit celebrating historical milestones of the LGBTQ+ community is on display at the Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach.

Curated in partnership with the Historical Society of Palm Beach County and the Lake Worth Beach-based LGBTQ organization Compass Community Center, “A Place for Pride” explores the moments and milestones that have shaped LGBTQ+ life in Palm Beach County and throughout the country, said Dana Filetti, marketing director for The Royal Poinciana Plaza.

The self-guided photo retrospective, which debuted Saturday and runs through July 15, includes a timeline marking the progress of LGBTQ+ rights from 1958 to the present.

Highlights include a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1958 that upheld constitutional protections for pro-gay writing; the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987; and Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts Joseph Abruzzo officiating a mass LGBTQ+ wedding in March.

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Twenty photographs selected by Filetti and representatives of Compass Community Center and the Historical Society of Palm Beach County are included in the exhibit, which sits in Royal Poinciana Plaza’s north and south breezeways. There is no cost to view the exhibit.

"We put together 20 moments, both national and local, that we feel really give a lovely snapshot of the progress that has been made during this time frame in the LGBTQ+ community," Filetti said. "I think this is just really educational. There's so much that I learned during this process. I'm excited for the community to see it."

Though The Royal Poinciana Plaza has long supported Pride Month, Filetti said, “A Place for Pride” is its first major venture related to it.

"A Place for Pride" is a self-guided photo retrospective exploring the moments and milestones that have shaped LGBTQ+ life in the country and community. The exhibit will be on view at The Royal Poinciana Plaza through July 15.
"A Place for Pride" is a self-guided photo retrospective exploring the moments and milestones that have shaped LGBTQ+ life in the country and community. The exhibit will be on view at The Royal Poinciana Plaza through July 15.

Filetti said she and The Royal Poinciana Plaza General Manager Lori Berg met with Compass Community Center Chief Development Officer Julia Murphy several months ago to discuss a joint effort to create a photo retrospective celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and its contributions to Palm Beach County's history.

Murphy was receptive to the idea, and together they agreed to bring in the Historical Society of Palm Beach County as a partner, Filetti said.

Both organizations received $2,500 donations from The Royal Poinciana Plaza for their work in creating "A Place for Pride."

"The LGBTQ+ community of Palm Beach County has a long and rich history,” Murphy said. “For the first time, we are able to see in one place the key moments of that history presented. We cannot express how important this is, especially as we look towards a future where we do not recreate the mistakes of the past. But it is also crucial to see the joys and accomplishments that have come before us.”

Photographs featured in the exhibit are set in bright, colorful frames, and each includes a caption that explains the historical significance of the event.

Guests can tour the exhibit during The Royal Poinciana Plaza's normal operating hours, which are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Though open just a few days, the exhibit has been well-received by those who have visited it, Filetti said.

"The response has been really nice so far," she said. "I think because this exhibit is rooted in history, no matter what your position is, it's historical and it's educational."

Filetti said Royal Poinciana Plaza hopes to make the exhibit an annual Pride Month event, with potentially new historical milestones added each year.

The display will move to the Compass Community Center at 201 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth Worth Beach, and the Historical Society of Palm Beach County at 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, once it leaves the plaza next month. The full exhibit will rotate between the two locations, Filetti said.

In addition to the "A Place for Pride" exhibit, The Royal Poinciana Plaza also is marking Pride Month through its Wee Free Library.

The library's pink Smeg refrigerator is stocked with books, crayons, and ice pops for kids, and during Pride Month, it also features “A Place for Pride” bookmarks and an assortment of children’s books written by, or featuring, LGBTQ+ authors and characters.

Jodie Wagner is a journalist at the Palm Beach Daily News, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach her at jwagner@pbdailynews.comHelp support our journalism. Subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Daily News: Pride Month exhibit debuts at Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach