City Of Fountain Sisters, Glamarama Ding Dong and Allessandra Blaze visit Art Garden KC during the 2021 Pride PHest in Pendleton Heights. Photos contributed by Art Garden KC

By EllieAna Hale

June is Pride month and is a time for members of the LGBTQ+ community to embrace their queer identities and celebrate their uniqueness. Throughout the month, Pride events are held to bring communities together and create a celebration of identity and individuality.

Throughout the weekend of June 17 to 19, PH Coffee and Art Garden KC have teamed together to host a family-centered Pride After Pride event that will host local queer art vendors and queer small businesses, as well as promote queer music artists and entertainers.

Eric Rosell, one of the owners of PH Coffee, brought together a team of queer and community-focused individuals to put together an event that will amplify queer voices and bring support and comfortable spaces to the Northeast queer community. Additionally, PH Coffee was announced as a new member of the Kansas City LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce

“What better way to celebrate queer voices than to host a giant block party to host queer vendors and events and make our voice loud and proud in the community,” said Richie Joel, queer entertainer and a member of the Pride After Pride staff. “We want to bring a voice that the community may not be exposed to as often. It is great that we are bringing that queer energy to Pendelton Heights.”

Pride After Pride is seeking to uplift queer voices in the Northeast neighborhood and create connections among the community members. Pride is a time for neighbors to come together. 

“It’s an opportunity to be visible,” Ciemantha Kosechata, a local artist in Pendleton Heights, said. “Not just to celebrate, it is an opportunity to look around and say, ‘There’s my neighbor,’ ‘There’s my friend,’ and see that you’re not alone. Pride is a chance to say, ‘I’m here too.’”

This is the first year this event has taken place on this large of a scale and PH Coffee is working to bring joy and celebration to Lexington Avenue, and on a greater scale, bring Pride to the Pendleton Heights and Northeast neighborhoods that will last the rest of the year. 

“It’s important to bring that voice,” Joel said. “We have queer people that live in Pendleton Heights and we need to let them know that we are celebrating them.”

Pride After Pride is advocating for buying local by bringing together a curated list of vendors and small businesses from the area. The Pride Market will be hosted throughout the entire event, sponsored by Art Garden KC, in addition to the planned events.

By advocating for local queer vendors to be amplified, Pride After Pride is working to establish a strong community relationship within the Northeast neighborhood. 

Additionally, the Northeast area is residentially known for being strong advocates of Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. 

“In Northeast, Pendleton Heights is a very eclectic and artsy neighborhood, we are one of the leading neighborhoods in this area to promote support of the LGBTQ community,” said Bethany Alzanadi, executive director of Art Garden KC.We do that weekly, through PH Coffee and Art Garden KC. To have an event like this is only fueling that fire behind our mission to support our neighbors, our family members, and providing support to those who have been historically outcaste in society.”

Specifically, through the work of PH Coffee and Art Garden KC, the queer community is gaining access to more safe spaces and environments to embrace their identities.

“I want people to walk in the doors of PH Coffee and the Social Gallery and drop their shoulders,” Rosell said. “Pride means celebration to me. But it’s also important to note that it’s not just that month. You should celebrate yourself all of the time. This gives me an opportunity to have PH Coffee do something to cause a celebration that you can experience every single day of your life, not just in June. Pride means the beginning of every single day.”

Pride Flag mural inside the Social Gallery at PH Coffee created by local queer artist and Pride After Pride volunteer, Ciemantha Kosechata.

Pride is a key event to allow a safe environment for queer individuals to celebrate and create joy within their own personal identity and show up and make their voices heard. 

“We do pride because there’s a little kid out there who thinks that they don’t have a place in this world and wants to take their life because they think who they are is wrong, that’s why we do pride,” Joel said. “Pride is meant to show the cosmic gorgeousness of the queer experience. We are beautiful. We are diverse. We are meant to be here. We are meant to have space. Pride is a beautiful highlight of that. We are proud of who we are. It is a chance to highlight the voices of those who have been disenfranchised. Trans black people. Queer people of color. Pride is a time to celebrate that. Pride is showing people that there is a space for them to be themselves.”

The event will have the following schedule:

Friday (June 17)

Pride Market: 5 – 9 p.m.

Moira Rose Wine Tasting: 5 – 7 p.m.

RuPaul Drag Race Trivia: 7 – 8 p.m.

Queer Speed Dating: 8 – 9 p.m.

Saturday (June 18)

Pride Market: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Open Mic: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. with 6 specific artists performing on the hour

Slay & Skate Party: 6 – 9 p.m.

Sunday (June 19)

Pride Market: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Drag Royalty Story Time for families: 2 – 4pm 

Drag Show featuring KC Drag Royalty Stars: 2 – 4pm

LGBQTea Party: 2 – 4pm

Follow Art Garden KC and PH Coffee on social for more details.