Notable Chicago LGBTQ community leaders are hosting a benefit concert for Artem Kolesov, a 23-year old gay man who caught the world’s attention when he came out earlier this year on YouTube as part of a Russian "Children-404" project, which invites teenagers to share their stories and discuss LGBT issues in Russia. In most of their photos and videos, participants shield their identities by holding up a sign in front of their faces, but Kolesov did not. While his courageous move caught international attention, it also means that he can never return home. His dream, therefore, is to insure his safety by obtaining U.S. citizenship.
Kolesov now lives in Chicago, where he is first violinist in the Yas Quartet, which is in residence at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. Earlier this summer, Kolesov was honored recently at the Logo TV Trailblazers Awards; last year his ensemble took third prize in the Chamber Division at the Schoenfeld International String Competition held in Harbin, China.
The concert “From Russia with Love: A benefit concert for Artem Kolesov and other LGBTQ refugees fleeing persecution” will enjoy a performance by Kolesov and the YAS Quartet and others. All proceeds will benefit legal costs associated with Kolesov’s pursuit of U.S citizenship; American Friends of Rainbow Railroad; and Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program (CLASP).