Larry T. Baza Arts & Culture Award

Larry T. Baza Arts & Culture Award – Patric Stillman, The Studio DoorPatric Stillman

Patric Stillman, a multifaceted artist, gallerist, and community activist, embarked on a creative journey at the threshold of adulthood, only to be profoundly impacted by the onset of the AIDS epidemic. This harrowing experience, marked by the loss of his first love and close friends to AIDS, ignited a lifelong commitment to advocacy. Beginning as a volunteer with Shanti in San Francisco and later with Homestead Hospice & Shelter in Los Angeles, Stillman’s journey eventually led him to San Diego in 1994, where he continued his tireless efforts with Townspeople and AIDS Foundation San Diego.

Returning to his artistic roots, Stillman found a renewed sense of purpose at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, where he championed the LGBTQ+ community through initiatives like the Cine Gay Showcase, now known as ¡SOMOS! LGBTQ+ Movie Showcase. In 2014, he solidified his presence in the San Diego arts scene by founding The Studio Door, a hub for local artists, particularly those from the LGBTQ+ community, to showcase their work and forge meaningful connections. His dedication earned him recognition as Mentor of the Year by Professional Artist magazine, highlighting his commitment to nurturing emerging talent.

Under Stillman’s guidance, The Studio Door embodies a sanctuary for the LGBTQ+ community, fostering acceptance and inclusivity. Collaborative endeavors like ART+ LGBT History Month with Lambda Archives and the Visual Workshop Series with Art of Pride underscore the gallery’s commitment to cultural enrichment. Stillman’s own artwork, including the groundbreaking Brotherhood Tarot, has garnered international acclaim and has been featured in prestigious exhibitions such as San Diego’s History Center’s LGBTQ+ San Diego: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs.

Furthermore, Stillman’s advocacy extends beyond gallery walls, as seen in his contributions as a writer to further amplify LGBTQ+ voices and recognition by the San Diego Tourism Authority’s Accelerator program underscores Stillman’s enduring impact as a LGBTQ+ business owner and cultural pioneer.