INDIVIDUAL | Inducted 2001
As a social service professional and volunteer arts booker, she has spent more than 20 years in helping Chicago’s Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn and Children, in developing lesbian musicians and other artists, and fostering lesbian culture.
As a collective member and producer, Kathryn Munzer has been an invaluable resource for the Mountain Moving Coffeehouse collective during the past 20 years.
The success of lesbian communities has included creation and maintenance of community centers and activities that affect their everyday lives. Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn and Children is an important lesbian institution. It is the oldest space of its kind and one of the few such spaces left in this country. Through her cheerful and enthusiastic presence, as well as her constant and dedicated work, Kathy Munzer is preserving and fostering critical parts of lesbian culture.
Munzer’s profound commitment to the lesbian community manifests itself through her support of lesbian activities and a wide variety of lesbian artists and artisans. None of this work has ever been paid. She uses her vacation time to do it, and she continually arranges her life to accommodate the needs of particular artists and the lesbian community as a whole.
She has done performer care at major festivals—Campfest, East Coast Lesbian Festival (perfomer support coordinator 1990-94), Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (acoustic stage 1991-94). She goes to such festivals recognizing that Chicago should not be isolated; her work there brings performers to Chicago who might otherwise not leave their established niches.
Through personal contact she has been able to book “big” names at the top of their popularity, who agree to perform without a guarantee in a small venue so that Mountain Moving can maintain its policy of never denying access because of lack of funds. She also books lesbian artists who are no known in order to widen their audience exposure. Furthering her desire to foster lesbian community discussions, she is a founding and active member of the Institute of Lesbian Studies.
Munzer also supports others’ endeavors. As a result of her outreach, the coffeehouse co-sponsors events and hosts benefits for lesbian individuals and organizations, and it supports other lesbian community projects.
In addition, recognizing that to sustain lesbian cultures requires a non-parochial view, Munzer believes in an outreach to the larger society. For example, during 1995 and 1996 she was a board member of Insight Arts, a multicultural arts-activism organization in Rogers Park.
Munzer’s work has made a significant contribution to the Chicago lesbian community.