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‘Slay: The Art of Drag’ Palm Springs exhibit raises awareness amid attacks on LGBTQ+ rights

An art exhibit in Palm Springs sought to raise awareness and pay tribute to drag culture admid attacks on LGBTQ+ rights across the nation.

"Slay: The Art of Drag" at Mr. Mann's Design in Palm Springs is an immersive experience featuring dozens of larger-than-life portraits of drag queens local to the Coachella Valley.

Artist Craig Mann said the exhibit celebrates drag as an art form, taking viewers backstage before the show before immersing them in the world of drag and showcasing the performers. After walking past the curtain, visitors find themselves in a club-like atmosphere.

"It is an art form. And we we really wanted to celebrate that," Mann said.

Mann and his husband and co-owner of the gallery, Ossie Saguil, donated a portion of the exhibit's proceeds to the Palm Springs "Drag4Drag" rally, which spoke out against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in other parts of the country. Saguil said it's important to humanize the performers, saying, "They're our neighbors. They're people you see day-to-day."

While the exhibit will be going dark on Sunday, the battle for fairness and freedom of expression continues. Mann believes that drag is here to stay and encourages others to embrace it.

"Drag is not anything new," he said. "It's going to stay, and you need to just embrace it because it truly is an art."

An upcoming exhibit at Mr. Mann's Design is expected to open by late summer or fall.

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Jake Ingrassia

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