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Utah Pride Center Creates Garden Exhibit For Pride Month

A sign hung on a fence that reads "Category is: Equity"
Darcy Ritchie

As a pandemic alternative to their regular Pride festival, the Utah Pride Center created an outdoor exhibit to highlight the history, stories and culture of the LGBTQ community. 

Guests could walk through the Pride Story Garden in Washington Square in Salt Lake City. The garden featured twenty themed exhibits from Utah Queer History to Retro Pop. 


Many of the exhibits were interactive. People could leave secret confessions, walk down a runway or participate in a socially-distanced Studio 54 dance party. 


Jenny Frisby visited the Pride Story Garden with a group of friends on Thursday. She said that it’s important to have events like these to educate the community. 


“I've learned stuff definitely about pride and how it started, and being able to see people who have fought for our rights and where we are, and then just being able to celebrate that as well," Frisby said. "I think that's an important thing.” 

Heather Maggio, a mental health intern at the Utah Pride Center, said that the garden was an opportunity to teach people “queer and straight alike.” 

“I think that it’s important because it does allow a lot of younger folks to learn a lot about our history as queer folks, both in Utah and nationally, and even worldwide, so I think something like this was actually perfectly timed,” Maggio said. “It’s sad that we had to cancel the regular pride festival and the parade and all of that, but this gave us an opportunity to really educate, even older folks who just don’t know some of the history.” 

Michelle Anklan works as a mental health therapist for the Utah Pride Center. They said that what is so challenging about being a queer person is feeling like you don’t fit in, but events like this can help queer people find their community.

“Coming together and seeing that they’re not alone and that they have a place where they can be seen for who they truly are and supported for who they truly are is really life-changing and life-saving,” Ankan said. 

The story garden was open to the public from June 3 to June 7. Proceeds from the event went to the Utah Pride Center to support their year-round services to Utah’s LGBTQ community.