Kicked out of 1st site, ‘Drag Syndrome’ finds new venue

Project 1 by ArtPrize
drag syndrome

A courtesy image taken from video shows Drag Syndrome.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A drag show featuring performers who have Down syndrome has found a new venue after being kicked out of its first performance space.

DisArt announced Friday that Wealthy Theatre had stepped up to host Drag Syndrome during the kickoff of Project 1 by ArtPrize.

The drag show was originally scheduled to happen at Tanglefoot until building owner and Republican congressional candidate Peter Meijer stepped in.

“…after deep reflection on the nature of Drag Syndrome’s performance, I cannot approve of their use of Tanglefoot’s facilities,” Meijer wrote to ArtPrize, citing concerns about the “potential exploitation of the vulnerable.”

DisArt, a Grand Raids group that works to connect art and people with disabilities, released Meijer’s Aug. 19 letter and said his exclusion of Drag Syndrome “is discrimination, it is self-preservation, it is exploitation for political gain. It is not protection.”

DisArt also pointed out that this is the first time Meijer has been involved in approving or denying a show at his building.

Drag Syndrome will now take place at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7. The theatre plans to remove some of its front row stadium seats to create handicapped-accessible space for up to 60 people.

Drag Syndrome Creative Director Daniel Vias said the group was “thrilled to see Grand Rapids join the international community to rally around these artists.”

DisArt plans to address the exclusion of Drag Syndrome from its original venue during a news conference Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Tanglefoot will still host a multimedia project by DisArt and its collaborators on Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 as part of Project 1.

All of DisArt’s events are free, but donations are being accepted on the group’s GoFundMe page to offset production costs.

Free tickets to Drag Syndrome can be reserved online.

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