QCC was founded in December 2022 as an opportunity to focus in on queer creators within the arts. Being able to express ourselves, connect with others, and create community is foundational to who we are. We have grand intentions of co-building our non-profit with each of you. We want to be a space and community of humans that are committed to equity of experiences, we value the vast diversity of our community, we make mistakes and do better, we respect the journey we each are on and can come alongside to support, encourage, and bring accountability to a world that values each of us, just as we are.
QCC seeks to be an organization that gives back through the experience we create for the arts. We have goals to provide scholarships for queer students in our community who are pursuing the arts. We want to bridge the gap between our community and allies by co-building a world that celebrates each and every one of us. To say we are excited is an understatement.
QCC seeks to support LGBTQIA2S+ people locally year round, supply young queer individuals with scholarships for continued education and impact, and create spaces for queer people to belong in a fostered and intentional environment.
You might be asking, “Why QCC?” We’ll let RJ tell you a little more about the dream.
“There are so many elements that go into that question. Essentially its creation stemmed from a multitude of my life experiences, starting at a young age. Two things that I have had a love for since I was a young kid – giving back and art. Here’s where it all began.
When I was about nine years old, my grandmother enrolled me into a program called Big Brothers Big Sisters. My Big Sister, Toni, and her husband Paul, would throw huge Toys For Tots parties around Christmas time. They invited about 100 people and everyone was asked to bring a toy. I spent 3 days prior to the parties helping decorate my Big Sister’s house from top to bottom, inside and out. In addition to the endless amount of decorating, we would also cook all sorts of entrees, side dishes, and desserts for this Christmas party. There was one year that I vividly remember gathering over 75 bikes to give back to kids in the community. Want to know the best part of it all? Toni would invite the Army folks to come in their big army trucks to pick up the toys every year. They would come hangout at the party, chat with us, and then collect the toys to be given out to those in need. The ritual of putting on these parties was something I did until I was about 18 years old and it truly kickstarted my love for giving back and driving an impact in the local community.
One part of me loves to give back, the other part is enamored with the arts. From an early age I’ve always been interested in pretty much all forms of art – musical, performative, visual – as well as fashion. As a kid my reality was to observe the arts and wasn’t given a chance to participate. My reality was that I grew up poor, lost my parents and siblings to drugs, and both sets of grandparents passed when I was at a young age. I never could afford to enroll in any of the programs I would have wanted to, in order to help foster my passions beyond a mere interest. On top of just trying to navigate the world on my own, I am also a Queer person of color. The opportunities that are more easily afforded to others hasn’t been part of my narrative. I’ve always just had to do what I could with what I had and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone trying to foster their passions on their own. This is where my desire to help foster other’s creative abilities comes in.
While this is all a small snippet of my life, it has not stopped me as an adult to do better and be better for the world. I have been a part of other organizations and groups but there hasn’t been a full alignment with my passions of giving back and the arts. I’ve decided to pull my passions together and form the Queer Creators’ Collective. QCC really is the combination of my love for Art and giving back to my community.
My purpose is to create an organization that builds spaces to produce art benefits, host state of the art fashion shows that provide grants and scholarships for LGBTQIA2S+ students, and create job opportunities for the LGBTQIA2S+ community that give them experiences to follow their dreams and passions within all forms of art. What’s my big dream? My dream is to be able to fund full-scholarships to every Queer student in Central Oregon, that applies to our program – for as long as we are in existence. It’s a big dream, but a reality that I believe we as a community are capable and able to do.
Join QCC as we venture to make a difference in our community.”
Founder, Chair, and Executive Director
Queer Creators’ Collective