Art & Music Collection
Our Art & Music Collection is organized into 4 sub-categories:
These collections can be found primarily on the second and third floors of the SMA.
The SMA collects LGBTQI music in all forms, including cassette tapes, vinyl 45 rpm records and LP albums, CDs, and mp3s. Our music holdings preserve the artistic expressions of our diverse communities. These materials are both for researchers to learn about LGBTQI music and for casual browsers to listen to for personal enjoyment. Some highlights of music holdings in the SMA include:
- A complete set of vinyl albums from Olivia Records, renowned lesbian and feminist record label
- Music produced by Old Lady Blue Jeans, a lesbian feminist recording company based in Northampton, Massachusetts in the 1970s and 1980s
- Vinyl record albums and CDs that capture queer music from the 1920s-1930s
- Both mainstream and independent LGBTQI recording artists
Our collections include original post-Stonewall art works, with a particular focus on a genre known as “outsider art,” or art that is considered to be outside of mainstream art as a medium. Contributed by local queer artists and not necessarily considered “fine art” by mainstream culture, the works of art the SMA includes are no less precious in their value to communicate beauty, passion, strength, and the experience of LGBTQI lives.
Much of this art was created for the LGBTQI community as the intended viewing or listening audience. As such, it may reflect the least told and often silenced stories of the communities of people that fall under the umbrella of sexual minorities. Many of the pieces attempt to capture the full range of sexual expression in LGBTQI communities, and portray a range of gender identity, sexual, and cultural expressions.
Preserving Our Art
While many of our art works hang on the walls of the SMA, the full Art collection is not exhibited at the SMA at this time. Through community support, we intend to improve access to the Art by creating a permanent art gallery space at the SMA’s new location for public viewing. We are dedicated to ensuring that the art that is contributed by our community is properly protected, preserved, shown, and viewed by as many LGBTQI visitors to the SMA as possible.
If you would like to support the development of our SMA art gallery and help with such expenses as art mattes, frames, display units, and more, consider making a donation to SMEF, Inc. earmarked for this purpose.
Our Posters Collection has a special focus on the Northampton and Amherst, Massachusetts area, but also includes posters from across the U.S. and the world. Local Western Massachusetts posters focus on events at the Five Colleges and on lesbian-feminist spaces in Northampton. Chicago, Illinois posters display bold and radical imagery. Posters are organized by year, when known. If a date was not included on a poster, the date is assigned by research conducted by SMA archivists. Otherwise, an estimated date or decade is offered if the information cannot be determined.
Highlights of Posters holdings in the SMA include:
- Chicago Women’s Graphics Collective posters
- Posters of musicians such as The Butchies and Ani DiFranco
- Movie promotional posters such as from “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Desert Hearts”
- Posters for LGBTQI performers such as Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Kate Clinton
- International Ms. and International Mr. Leather posters
- Event posters from the Five Colleges, in Western Massachusetts
**In addition to our cataloged posters, the SMA also has hundreds of un-cataloged, oversized flyers and posters, including a Northampton collection and a U.S./International collection
The Importance of Posters to the Historical Record
The SMA believes it is important for our community archive to collect posters for three reasons: to document the history of our people, to chronicle where and when events occurred, and because they display original art by our LGBTQI groups and individuals.
Posters allow us to study the past events and activities of LGBTQI communities and organizations, providing us with a fuller picture of our history, activism, and resistance. Posters document the physical landscape of the movement, highlighting not only what events happened, but where they occurred and who produced them, as well. Thus, even though the physical spaces where events occurred no longer exist, posters tell the stories of dyke bars, drag clubs, the gay and leather scenes, women and lesbian-only spaces, trans-support groups, dances, theater troupes, student organizing groups, protest actions, and more.
T-Shirts and other textiles in the SMA include a range of LGBTQI-related themes. Most of the t-shirts are from the LGBTQI Movement in the post-Stonewall years. Some of the t-shirts were created using original art and text for organizations, events, protests, and to celebrate Pride marches. Our T-Shirt Collection holds many Pride march t-shirts, including most of the t-shirts from Northampton Pride as well as those from other U.S. cities. We also have t-shirts from the Northampton Trans Pride March, early lesbian-feminist shirts, a Transsexual Menace t-shirt, and even a dashiki worn by a Black lesbian in the 1960s.
Textiles include: cloth banners carried in LGBTQI protest and Pride marches, articles of clothing, homemade hand bags, jackets, wall hangings, and more.