William Way to celebrate 40th at Indigo Ball


The folks at the William Way LGBT Community Center are expecting a big turn out for the annual Indigo Ball next month.


The new venue for the community center’s biggest fundraiser is the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., which can hold 500 people, up from the 350 people who could attend the event in previous years.

“It’s great to expose more people to our causes,” said Chris Bartlett, executive director of William Way. “To me, it’s a celebration of what I view as the center of the community, the place where so many of the LGBT ideas in the community have been germinated.”

Tickets cost $250 to attend the ball, from 6:30-11:30 p.m. Oct. 10. That includes an open-bar reception sponsored by Bacardi, a three-course dinner with wine selections provided by Barefoot and an hour-and-a-half of dancing. Dress is formal.

Corporate partners include PECO, Comcast, MetLife and MediaCopy.

“Speaking Out for Equality,” an exhibit detailing the intersection of gay rights with the Constitution and Supreme Court, will be on display during the event. William Way developed it in conjunction with the Constitution Center.

The exhibit won’t be the only celebration of history.

William Way will commemorate its 40th anniversary with a preview of its video project called “40 Years, 40 Stories,” produced by Kelly Burkhardt and Peter Lien.

Some of the finished videos are available on YouTube channel WilliamWayCC or at www.waygay40.org.

A short compilation will be shown at Indigo Ball, highlighting the best of the interviews they have conducted this year, Burkhardt said. She and Lien talked to people who have been influential to William Way’s history, from lifelong LGBT activist John Cunningham and the Rev. Jeffrey Haskins to Judge Ann Butchart and state Rep. Brian Sims.

“We’re documenting these stories of people that have been involved in the center so future generations will be able to see it,” Burkhardt said, “so younger queers and future community leaders will be able to see it and be inspired.”

“The center is this melting pot that really just fosters community and will keep our community strong,” added Burkhardt, who identifies as a lesbian, dyke, queer and gay. “As long as our center is strong, our community will be strong. The LGBT community in Philadelphia is the strongest I’ve ever seen it.”

Burkhardt noted a lot of movers and shakers in the city’s LGBT community might never have met and collaborated had it not been for William Way.

For more information, contact William Way at 215-732-2220. To purchase Indigo Ball tickets, visit www.bit.ly/indigoball2015.