Multi-disciplinary Artists Explore Queer Intimacy and Domesticity in Drexel’s Fall Gallery Exhibition

Santiago Galeas, Queer Mother
Santiago Galeas, Queer Mother

The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery of Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, will present at home, an art exhibition exploring queer life, on Thursday, Sept. 22 with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. A group show, at home will highlight visual stories of queer intimacy and domesticity.

“Though queer and trans visibility is on the rise, the portrayal of queer life is sensationalized and generalized as a combination of partying, suffering, and eroticism,” said Leah Appleton, associate director of the Pearlstein Gallery and curator of at home. “This show explores a nuanced experience of queerness and private worlds using chosen families, nuclear families and queer domestic spaces.”

The exhibition will run from Thursday, Sept. 22 through Saturday, Dec. 3. Operating hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. in the URBN Annex (3401 Filbert St.).

Photography, painting, fiber sculpture, ceramics and video work will be on display. at home explores queerness as a pervasive experience, which flows through all aspects of life. In the words of American author and social activist, bell hooks, "queer not as being about who you’re having sex with (that can be a dimension of it); but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent, create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.”

at home debuted at the Main Line Art Center in May 2022, and Appleton looks forward to further iterations of the exhibition, each adapted to steer toward the venue’s unique audiences. Featured artists include muralist Bee Daniel, designer and photographer Omar Mismar, and video artist Mengwen Cao.

Daniel’s work draws upon influences from tattoo art, graffiti, psychedelic imagery, and children’s books – they will create a new site-specific mural for the exhibition.

“Too often our queerness is sensationalized in media – we're partying, dying or sex objects,” said Appleton. “This show focuses on queerness in the round – the everyday existence, not just struggle or survival or thriving...just being, just am, just is — and the pervasiveness of queerness.”

Leah Appleton is a Philadelphia-based contemporary art jack-of-all-trades, who extends community and understanding through the arts. Leah values political joy, radical honesty, fun as health care, empathetic communication, life as drag, and capital Q Queerness in all its forms. They also serve on the Westphal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.


Before joining academia, Leah's alter ego, Ophelia Heiny, made their way through the art world by producing gender and sexuality focused programs for nightclubs, art galleries, theaters and public spaces in New England. Leah/Ophelia holds a BFA from Maine College of Art in Painting, and an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University.