In Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Gay Women of Rehoboth is hosting the Women’s Arts Project, a new event celebrating gay women this winter.
As the third-largest LGBTQ+ community in the United States, Rehoboth has long been a hub for queer festivities. However, there has been a noticeable decline in LGBTQ+ businesses and spaces, particularly gay bars. “The gay bars that were here aren’t here anymore,” says Lisa Soens, co-organizer of Gay Women of Rehoboth. “There are only a few places that can be called a gay establishment.”
The dwindling number of lesbian bars across the United States, from almost 200 in the 1980s to 31 today, underscores the need for alternative congregating spaces beyond traditional LGBTQ+ nightclubs. Soens is determined to build a queer community that extends beyond bars, emphasizing the importance of safe spaces for gay women in Rehoboth.
Her vision includes exposure to new musicians and art while fostering connections, conversations, and learning experiences.
The Women’s Arts Project, held from January 12th to 14th, is a testament to this commitment. The event aims to uplift musical talent from the East Coast and provide inclusive entertainment during the winter months. “We thought we would welcome an event in the winter so that we could give the ladies something to do,” explains Viki Dee, a local musician and co-organizer.
Friday kicks off with a poker tournament hosted by Las Vegas Women’s Poker Tournament runner-up DJ Brooke. The evening unfolds with musical performances by notable artists such as Dina Hall, Saxtress Pamela Williams, Gem Fatales,Nashville star Sarah Peacock, and DJ Shadylady.
Saturday continues the festivities with a bingo championship and a keynote speech by Eboné Bell, Founder and Editor in Chief of Tagg Magazine. The musical lineup includes E’lissa Jones, Be Steadwell, Yasmin Williams, Vicci Martinez, and stand-up by comedian Jessica Kirson.
Sunday takes on a special significance as the event pays tribute to women veterans and first responders. “For women veterans, it’s always been a silent thing. We want to not make it silent anymore,” says Dee.
Soens, inspired by her experiences volunteering with veteran women, aims to uplift their voices and give them the recognition they deserve. “I just feel like they aren’t recognized and given the honor that they deserve,” shares Sosen.
The weekend concludes with a cornhole tournament, a fun way to end a celebratory event dedicated to ensuring all participants feel seen, heard, and welcomed. The Women’s Arts Project stands as a beacon of inclusivity, creating a space where the diverse voices of queer women can resonate and thrive. “I just want everyone to feel a part of the community,” says Soens. “We are creating a space for everybody.”
For more information on Gay Women of Rehoboth and the Women’s Art Project, visit www.gaywomenofrehoboth.org.