The FlexSpace is a gallery and general hub for many communities to meet and interact with each other. Located in room 183 of the Behavioral Sciences Building, close to the Harrison Street entrance, the space is available for a variety of uses including project team meetings, seminars, private interviews, audio and video recordings, brainstorming sessions, idea displays, organization meetings, and more. The space can be used informally by individuals throughout the day. You may also reserve the space by contacting the GSC staff at lgbtqa@uic.edu, 312-413-9862 or by stopping by and speaking to someone in the Community Lounge next door in room 181.

Current Exhibition:

The UIC Gender and Sexuality Center invites you to visit our spring 2017 exhibit

March 15 – May 5, 2017

This exhibit features the work from nine artists and collaboratives exploring ideas and images of refuge, safety, strength in community, and resistance. This exhibit is produced in partnership with the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) – Chicago and centers work of people who identify as sex workers, while extending the theme to other communities with shared concerns.


The gallery is FREE and open to ALL.
Require accommodations? Call 312-413-8619 or email lgbtqa@uic.edu.

The artwork featured above is titled
“I Sought Knowledge Yet Found Only the Disdain of the Created” by Ambrosia Bartosekulva.

Previous FlexSpace Exhibitions:

“The Pursuit of Happiness ” – Sam Kirk
October 4 – December 9, 2016


Sam Kirk, a multidisciplinary artist, explores culture, identity and urban politics through her art. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Kirk is the product of a working class family. Her upbringing largely contributes to the inspiration behind her work. A love and passionate focus on community and culture, Sam celebrates the day to day that is found in local neighborhoods and “ordinary” people. Taking experiences from her own upbringing and merging them with insights obtained during travel, her work is known for its vibrant color palette, whimsical characters and, profound stories laced with optimism.

Kirk has exhibited throughout the US, received commissions from private collectors and commercial clients including collaborations with Don Julio, Guinness, Red Bull, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Tasty Trade, among others. She was chosen to design the Chicago Made SXSW 2015/2016 space, was recently featured in Chicago’s Official Visitors Guide as one of five artists shaping the art scene, and recently completed a residency as a Schomburg Fellow with Ramapo College in New Jersey on Diversity in Higher Education.

Adamant on giving back, she uses her work as a visual platform to incite change. Select exhibits have been used as a funding tool to help the people in need. On this exhibit, Sam stated, “For years, I’ve watched my communities struggle. A constant fight for love, acceptance, and respect. Often in our youth we realize that we are not the person our parents wanted us to be. ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ is an exhibition about the obstacles that LGBT youth face, finding their own voice, and celebrating identity despite societal rejection.” Kirk earned a B.F.A. in Interior Design and a B.A. in Marketing from Columbia College in Chicago. Sam lives and works in Chicago, with a second studio in Brooklyn. http://iamsamkirk.com/#exhibit

AUDIO DESCRIPTION IS AVAILABLE. Audio description is a method for relaying the visual to those who are blind and/or low vision. In addition to being able to access the Sound Cloud track online, visitors can borrow an audio device from GSC. GSC also has large print, accessible text available as a handout and as a download. GSC’s Graduate Assistant Jonathan Kelley, a Master’s student in the Museum and Exhibition Studies (MUSE) program, collaborated with liz thomson, a PhD student in disability studies and Noora Al Balushi (MUSE), to write the descriptive text.

You can access the audio description text here.

Chicago’s Families: Finding Home – June 2015 to September 13, 2015

Located at the Swedish American Museum, Finding Home describes the journeys of four communities – represented by the Gender and Sexuality Center, Swedish American Museum, Japanese American Service Committee, and National Public Housing Museum – as they create chosen families, build community, and arrive at home.

Hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday 11am – 4pm
Swedish American Museum
5211 N. Clark St.
Chicago IL, 60640


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Archival Impulse: An Exhibition of UIC Artists – February 2014 – May 2015

Archival Impulse is a curated exhibition of 7 UIC student artists. Artists were selected to visit the GSC 20/20 exhibition  and archival material as inspiration for new artworks that focused on queer identity, community, and lived experience.

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GSC 20/20 – October 2014 – February 2015

Please join us in unveiling GSC 20/20, a year-long exhibition illuminating 20 years of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, and allied education, activism, and community at UIC. This exhibit uses alumni oral histories and objects pulled from the Gender and Sexuality Center’s archives to uncover our University’s queer history.





Chance Encounters – April – June 2014

On July 4, 2013, Emily Siefken—a US Military veteran of the two wars in the Middle East, set up her canvas at Navy Pier and began to paint. Photographer Salik Tanveer, who moved to the United States in 2011 from Pakistan, approached Siefken about her en plein air painting and the two struck up a conversation. Chance Encounters chronicles the development of the artists’ relationship through the their e-mail correspondence.



Conversation with the Artists: Chance Encounters

April 3, 2014
6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Gender and Sexuality Gallery, 183 BSB
1007 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Join us in conversation with artists Emily Siefken, a a 10-year US military veteran, and Salik Tanveer, a Pakistani American as they discuss the development of their relationship and connection to the city of Chicago through a multimedia presentation of painting, photography, video, and written correspondence.

Be Neutral – January – March 2014

Be Neutral, exhibits artwork by painter James Carey. On November 15th, 2005 Carey was diagnosed with HIV** (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Carey’s artwork focuses on his journey over the last eight years. Because of the social stigma, “coming out” as HIV positive can cause sever emotional anxiety and fear of being ostracized. Artist James Carey seeks to use his art to fight the stigma of being HIV positive. His art portrays topics such as accepting his HIV positive status, the descriptions of him used by his doctors, social stigma, and how to, as he puts it, “turn a positive into a positive”. Carey’s paintings publicly announce how he has flourished as a person living with HIV. A friend, co-worker, or partner may find it difficult and scary telling you about their HIV status and you may not know what to say when they tell you. What can you say to convey your support and erase fear of stigma?

**HIV invades the human immune system’s white blood cells, specifically the T lymphocyte cells which are used to fight off infections.

Navigating Status

Conversation with the Artist: Navigating Status

March 4, 2014
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Gender and Sexuality Gallery, 183 BSB
1007 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Join us in conversation with artist James Carey, MPH and Mr. Stephvon “Bo” Cook founder of the 1 More Chance Clinic as they share their experiences working with MSM, transwomen, and other individuals affected by HIV.

Eden: Expressions in Gender – August 31 – October 19, 2013

“As the original birth place of ‘Eden: Expressions in Gender,’ Chicago is naturally a city where the project owes a type of allegiance for its inception. The majority of the participants in the exhibit also hail from Chicago, so showing it in its birthplace pays a type of homage to them as well.

My vision for the project has always been to bring it to the public sector. In having an initial interest in university and other educational types of settings for the exhibit, I was consistently seeking an audience insistent upon asking questions and perpetuating learning, and even critique, around gender and its related art. It is an honor to exhibit the project at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as their Gender and Sexuality Department has demonstrated exceptional outreach, research, and educational programs for their students, faculty, and the public. I feel that “Eden: Expressions in Gender” is able to feel right at home in their burgeoning art gallery.”

– Andy Karol

Conversation with the Artist: Andy Karol

October 8, 2013
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Gender and Sexuality Gallery, 183 BSB
1007 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Andy Karol’s body of photography, Eden: Expressions in Gender, focuses on the wide gender identity spectrum. Join the Gender and Sexuality Center for an open discussion with Karol about gender, identity, and art as a medium for their expression.



Couplings: On The Brink of Same-sex Marriage in Illinois

This interactive visit examines multiple and diverse perspectives on possible impacts of same sex marriage legislation in Illinois. We invite you to stop by, read the texts that have been collected so far and add your point of view. The exhibit seesk to expand the dialogue beyond pro and con to consider the future of LGBTQ invidividuals and communities as well as collective priorities for social justice action.

Curated by Megan Carney, Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, and David Maya, undergraduate in Psychology and GSC student worker.

Some people thought they’d never live to see the day.

Others view same sex marriage as a pathway to full citizenship.
Some believe that the mainstream LGBT movement has focused on same sex marriage to the detriment of other urgent issues.
Others can’t understand why LGBT people are fighting to be part of such a historically problematic institution as marriage.
Where do you stand? What does this mean…
…for LGBTQ communities?
…for the future of LGBTQ identity?
…for undocumented LGBTQ people?
…for transgender people denied protections at work?
…for homeless queer youth in the streets and shelters?
…for a couple that has been together for many years?
…for a couple just falling in love?
…for you?

Visitors to the exhibit are invited to leave written responses that will get typed and added to the wall.

Definition of coupling
from Merriam Webster Dictionary
1: the act of bringing or coming together: pairing: specifically: sexual union
2: a device that serves to connect the ends of adjacent parts or objects
3: the joining of or the part of the body that joins the hindquarters to the forequarters of a quadruped
4: a means of electric connection of two electric circuits by having a part common to both

Boxes – Fall 2012

This is an interview from the fall with student artist Maria Alejos ’13 and
GSC staff member Moises Villada talking about her “BOXES” exhibit.

Artist Statement:

Being part of the LGBTQ community has inspired me to produce this project titled BOXES.  The women in this project identify as lesbian, bisexual or queer.  Through photography I wanted to depict their attitudes and their pride.  The accompanying audio piece provides their personal opinions.

I started by asking how they feel about being part of the LGBTQ community.  Through the interviews I learned their stories and point of views about the “labels” that society uses to describe their sexual orientation and gender identity. The people I interviewed and photographed are comfortable with who they are but feel “boxed in” by the stereotypes and expectations of society.