Kat Murrell

Art doesn’t just imitate life – sometimes it is life. That is the approach filmmaker Ashley Altadonna pursues in her ongoing documentary film “Making the Cut.” A native of Houston and longtime Milwaukee resident, Altadonna is chronicling her experiences and fundraising activities for gender reassignment surgery. In support, an upcoming benefit at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center will help raise funds toward the $20,000 needed. The event includes an evening of music from DJ Too Sarcastic plus an art auction with a wide range of works donated by local artists.

Combining creative vision with personal transition is a natural fit for Altadonna. She has explored gender identity in previous films, with work that has received attention internationally in Europe and Australia, as well as in major U.S. cities.

“One of my goals with the film is to combine art with activism,” Altadonna says. “This is probably the most direct approach to do it. I think this benefit does that quite nicely.”

Along with the special events of opening night, the ongoing art auction will be held in the gallery space.

Summer Gallery night is coming up on Friday, July 23, and continues through Saturday, July 24. A notable exhibition, over a year in the making, opens at Portrait Society, 207 E. Buffalo Street, with “J. Shimon & J. Lindemann’s Real Photo Postcard Survey Project.” (WiG writer Debra Brehmer is the gallery’s director.) The photographic survey captures contemporary people with a vintage appearance. As is characteristic of Shimon & Lindemann’s work, there is a probing sense of exposure that the artistic pair adeptly conjures from their subjects

Also on view will be portraits by internationally recognized photographer Vanessa Winship. Based in London, Winship shows her suite of work focusing on children of the Republic of Georgia, titled “Dancers and Fighters.” The exhibition opens with a reception on Gallery Night and continues through Oct. 3.