32nd Harrisburg Gallery Walk: LGBTQ+ History of the Mariel Boatlift


September 13    
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Historic Harrisburg Resource Center
1230 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA, 17102

Event Type

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Historic Harrisburg Association will be one of several stops on the Annual Harrisburg Gallery Walk!


You will find the “With Open Hearts and Arms: LGBTQ Cuban Refugees and LGBTQ Community’s Response to the Mariel Boatlift” exhibit, curated by the Harrisburg LGBT Center on display at the Historic Harrisburg Resource Center.

About the LGBTQ Cuban Refugee and the LGBTQ Community’s Response to the Mariel Boatlift:

From April through October 1980 approximately 125,000 refugees fled their homes in Cuba and traveled by American ships and boats to Key West in the United States. Among those who left from the Cuban port of Mariel (and thus have become known as Marielitos) were a sizable number of LGBTQ Cubans.

These new residents of the United States were assisted in their resettlement by dedicated members of the LGBTQ community, including many from Pennsylvania who assisted at the resettlement camp in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, or helped those who settled in Pennsylvania. This exhibit explores the circumstances surrounding the exodus and resettlement, focusing on the personal stories of LGBTQ Cuban immigrants who have since made their lives in this country.

In early 2019, The John J. Wilcox Archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia mounted a ground-breaking exhibit, With Open Heart and Open Arms: LGBTQ Cuban Refugees and Our Community’s Response to the Mariel Boatlift, chronicling the story of LGBTQ Cubans who were part of the Mariel Boatlift of Cuban refugees in 1980.

Patsy Lynch, photographer, Cuban Refugees at Ft. Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, 1980. Courtesy of Patsy Lynch.

To read more about the traveling exhibit or to learn more about The LGBT Center of Central PA, please click on the link below:


Gallery Walk Information:

See new exhibits at Historic Harrisburg and citywide.  Noon – 6 PM, free.

For more info on the 32nd Harrisburg Gallery walk, check out Art Association of Harrisburg:


****According to Covid-19 guidelines we are required to limit 40 visitors to the Banker’s Hall according the 25% capacity rule.  Visitors, staff, and volunteers will be expected to adhere to social distance guidelines requiring the use of masks and maintain a social distance of 6ft or more.  A hand sanitizer station will also be set up in the vestibule and is encouraged to be used upon exit and entry. 

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