Palette Magazine

A Cultural Community: Letter from our Creative Director, Ethan Duran

Ethan Duran

The arts are a direct outlet for our culture, often serving as agents of transformation and positive change. Music, dance, literature and visual and performing arts have all played a crucial role in challenging the status quo and influencing public opinion in the most profound matters pertaining to society, politics, sexuality and identity. Artists create in hope that their patrons will appreciate their creation and, in doing so, discover something different.

Historically, the artistic world has been a powerful ally to the LGBTQ community. Work by artists such as Keith Haring brought HIV/AIDS awareness to the forefront during the height of the epidemic in the 1980s. More recently, in July of this year, TransArt presented A Celebration of Transgender Talent, Vision & Possibilities, which showcased LGBTQ artists, activists and allies at various locations throughout South Florida. In the digital age, art is virtually unstoppable. Artist and activist Daniel Arzola’s Tumblr series No Soy Tu Chiste (I’m Not Your Joke) teamed up with It Gets Better Project to highlight some of the more prevalent LGBTQ stereotypes. The results went viral. His striking illustrations combined with short, poignant messages conveyed complex concepts about gender identity, abuse and civil rights. Follow it on

When I first moved here, South Florida’s wealth of artistic offerings was awe-inspiring. It feels great to live in a place that lives and breathes its art. How awesome is it to have a vibrant neighborhood like Wynwood in our midst? And, of course, Art Basel returns in December with all its international flair, spin-off events and unbelievable parties. It is absolutely one of my all-time favorite events — and it’s already in my calendar.

Another event I’m really excited about this year is SAVE’s annual Halloween Ball. It will be my first time attending, but from what I’ve heard it’s the place to embrace your sense of adventure and let your creative spirit fly. Besides, what about a costume party at the Magic City Casino to support the community doesn’t sound like fun?

The arts have always helped me embrace who I am as an individual. They shattered through walls of perceived loneliness and allowed me to discover an entire community of kindred spirits. They’ve pushed me to express myself honestly and find freedom in individuality. I’m not sure where I would be without artists like Pierre et Gilles, Morrissey, Mary Ellen Mark and David LeChapelle, among so many others. And I’m excited to see where new artists I’m discovering will take us, feeling grateful for their contributions.

So whatever your pleasure, get out there and get your art on. Visit my photoblog to see my own take on this wonderful and crazy place we call South Florida. And don’t forget to send your tweets to

@palettelgbt or drop me a line at Be sure to follow us on Instragram and Facebook as well.


Stay Gold,

Ethan Duran

Creative Director