AIDS Memorial Quilt to return to D.C.

WiG

The AIDS Memorial Quilt will return to the nation’s capital this summer.

Deemed by an act of Congress to be a National Treasure, The Quilt now consists of more than 47,000 panels representing the lives of 94,000 individuals taken by AIDS, sewn by more than 100,000 friends and family members.

The Names Project Foundation, caretaker of the memorial, is calling on the public to join its efforts as it prepares to bring all 54 tons of The Quilt to Washington in June and July.

“Science has begun to articulate a new AIDS narrative that says if we test and treat enough people globally, the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic will change and we will see the beginning of the end of AIDS,” said Julie Rhoad, president and CEO of The NAMES Project. “It’s time to re-double our efforts – join us as volunteers and sponsors and, together, let us call on The Quilt to do what it does best: affirm our humanity, make clear our connections to and responsibility for one another, and garner a new era of support and advocacy for the AIDS cause.”

As Washington hosts the XIX International AIDS Conference this summer, The Quilt will blanket the national capital region – with sections displayed on part of the National Mall, in 40-plus additional venues throughout Washington area. Also, prior to AIDS 2012, panels will be displayed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

“The Quilt is a connector and catalyst, an ambassador and educator. Bringing every panel of The Quilt back to Washington, D.C., provides an amazing opportunity to share its power with a largely new audience and in doing so place HIV/AIDS squarely back into the public conscience,” said Rhoad.

The Quilt began with a single 3’ x 6’ foot panel created in San Francisco in 1987.

Today, The Quilt is the largest piece of ongoing community art in the world. Its personally sewn panels come from every state in the nation and around the globe.

Sections are continuously on display across the country in schools, churches, community centers, businesses, corporations and a variety of other institutional settings.

To date, more than 15 million people have seen The Quilt at tens of thousands of displays throughout the world.

The Names Project is seeking volunteers for the D.C. display. For more information, go to www.Quilt2012.org.

Download a PDF of the current issue of Wisconsin Gazette and join our Facebook community.