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Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

Brand Strategy  |  Co-strategist with Dan Azic, Ria Shah, Alvaro Bigaton, Jennifer Mahon, Alex Gilkey, Ackshita Senthilnathan, Yelle Rothman, Andrew Krantz mentored by Mark Kinglsey & Tom Guarriello |  SVA Honors 2023 Client Project

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art’s “LLMA” origins date back to 1969 when its founders, Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman, hosted an exhibit of gay artists in their SoHo loft. Today, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art is the only LGBTQUIA+ art museum in the world. The organization tells the unedited stories of its queer artists while preserving LGBTQUIA+ art and building community. Over the years, LLMA has struggled to communicate its beliefs and its evolved understanding of queerness. This has resulted in the dilution of the brand which has in turn impacted more than its image; it has also impacted staff and public awareness. With the introduction of the American LGBTQ+ Museum, and the current politics in culture, how can LLMA reevaluate its identity to effectively communicate its core ethos of inclusivity and acceptance? By laying out the institution's history and its dance with culture, we learned that every time there was a defining moment in queer culture, LLMA responded in kind. We propose that LLMA use this moment in time to move from responsiveness to the active shaping of culture. Being more intentional with its inherent politics would help define the museum's goal and its expression — both internally and externally.

Desk Research, Competitive & Cultural Audit, Stakeholder Interviews, Insights, Positioning & Implications, Creative Brief​


The Museum's impact is obvious the second you walk in.

But this impact comes with political demands that have affected its

fundraising, internal structure, promotions, programming, language, imagery, social media, and confidence.

And the Museum is struggling to signify these political beliefs through its brand.


Original name: Specific but limited.

The new name introduced ambiguity.


Current name: Inclusive but unclear.

This has led to the a lack of definition that impacts more than just the brand.

Decision fatigue among the team

“I think one of the things (is) the exhaustion of our team. Our team is small and ambitious, and wants to do a lot and yet this work, when done best, has a kind of slowness to it.”

— Museum Stakeholder

Vague Dialogue with the audience

“Some of this art is going to put (the older generation) off. They are just as oddly conservative as anybody else, in terms of their art. So I don't know if we've navigated the line.”

— Museum Stakeholder

A lack of public awareness

“Queerest museum that queers don't know about.”

— Museum Stakeholder

“We're the only LGBTQIA+ art museum in the world that no one's ever heard of.”

— Museum Stakeholder

But the Museum is as essential as ever.

LGBTQIA+ Identification in U.S. has doubled in percentage since 2012.

Source: ​Forbes

But there is still a need for safe spaces

Source: Vice



Republicans Are Trying to Ban Drag Shows Now

Source: HRC



Human Rights Campaign Slams Governor Lee for Signing Anti-Drag Bill and Gender Affirming Care Ban into Law; TN Becomes First State to Criminalize Drag

Source: Them



There Have Been At Least 124 Attacks on Drag Events This Year

It’s time for LLMA to  move from responding to its context to shaping the reality we live in.

Re-articulating the Museum's enduring essence will positively impact its:

visual expression, communication, artists' voices, actions, funding, community, and expansiveness.

Positioning Statement 1: Advocacy

LLMA explores the infinite artistic expression of queerness to preserve, represent, and embrace
the true breadth of human experience. 

Positioning Statement 2: Meeting Place

LLMA serves as the vibrant home for the presentation of queer artistic narratives

to spark dialogue and connection. 

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