By Jessica Taylor
On September 26, 2019 we held our annual appreciation of our longstanding supporters, the Guardians of The ArQuives, at the Textile Museum of Canada. It was a lively evening attended by 55 people and full of food, drink, and celebration of our achievements over the past year and the part our donors played in making that work happen.
The space was donated by the Textile Museum and Robert Windrum, current board member at the Textile Museum and former president of The ArQuives, and one of the initial driving forces behind the Guardians program. The Guardians of the Archives was established in 2013 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The ArQuives. Guardians are individuals and organizations who generously commit at least $1,000 per year to help The ArQuives collect, preserve, and tell our stories.
One of the highlights of the night was Executive Director Raegan Swanson’s presentation of the new online collections portal which allows anyone with an internet connection to search our collection, including our many digitized artifacts. Funds from the Guardians were specifically directed to this project of making our collection more widely accessible. During the event Raegan prompted attendees to use the computers distributed around the room to search the collection and see all the contributions they themselves had made to LGBTQ2+ history in Canada.
À la Carte Catering, whose director of sales Ossian Ghazal has been a longstanding supporter of The ArQuives, put on a tremendous spread of canapés and other treats, and arranged for the wine and beer to be donated from Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits and Muskoka Brewery. After all the celebrating, attendees wandered through the exhibit Tapestry of Spirit: The Torah Stitch by Stitch Project, a social textile project lead by Toronto artist Temma Gentles that asked volunteers of all faiths from 28 countries to cross-stitch their interpretations of the first five books of the Bible. This ambitious project, itself begun in 2013, reminds us that our own work at The ArQuives relies on the volunteers and supporters who contribute their money, creativity, personal and organizational materials, and time to tell the joint story we hope to be able to tell for many years to come.