Name: Max Mowitz (Maxwell Sherman Mowitz if I’m invited to a formal event)
I’m a trans masculine nonbinary Capricorn and Des Moines native and enthusiast. I’m what’s known as a Career Queer, meaning that what I’m called to do is radical, intersectional work to help improve the lives of LGBTQ people. My point of view and passion in my work is that of intersectionality, accessibility, and efficacy; those three things must be present to make the work I do worthwhile and meaningful. I love lifting weights, eating local food, indulging my obsessive personality, and drinking a lot of cold brew from Horizon Line Coffee.
Why do you think the artistic community is so important?
I think that art is healing and power. Art is one of the most accessible and approachable ways to share your story and speak your truth. When there is a strong and thriving art community, there are more ways to engage with that, which is wonderful.
What do you think is important for our community to do better?
I think continuing to have difficult conversations surrounding intersectional oppressions (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) and art making is imperative. We are at a point where challenging ourselves and interrogating our own privilege is a necessary base-line in engaging with everything, especially art. Who is able to make their art? Which artists are recognized and which aren’t? What makes art valuable to us? These are just a couple of the things we can do to make our art community more supportive to artists, as well as holding each other accountable.
How can our community lift you up and support you?
One of my favorite ways to volunteer is through the facilitation of a Queer Art Healing Group, held twice a month. This art therapy group is free, including supplies, snacks, and space. If you’re interested in supporting this group financially, you’re doing your part to support the LGBTQ community and its few safe spaces. Aside from that, support local trans and nonbinary artists, and continue to challenge your understanding of gender.
Give someone a shout out!
It’s hard to choose just one! The Queer Art Healing Group is run through Transformative Healing, which is an organization dedicated to serving Iowa LGBTQ survivors of sexual assault and violence. They are currently volunteer run and always need the additional state-wide support! Of course, I have to also mention One Iowa, the statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization (I work there!). Also, if you haven’t already, check out WOC Iowa or POC Iowa on Instagram, stop what you’re doing and follow them! Meanz Chan does an incredible job of curating that page and highlighting incredible people of color from around our state.
What makes you magic?
Serving my community is the thing that gets me out of bed every day, which is an absolutely magical feeling. Additionally: gratitude, coffee, and consistent therapy.
There are tons of amazing LGBTQ events coming up this spring! Our next Queer Art Healing Group is Tuesday, April 9th, from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Mickle Neighborhood Resource Center, and I hope to see you there (feel free to bring your own art supplies if you have them!)
Make sure to follow Max on Instagram: Click Here
And make sure to follow Des Moines Made Local, a project Max started that focuses on all things local in Des Moines: food, books, art, etc. You can Click Here to follow!