January 8, 2013
AIDS Athens has arranged to display a portion of the AIDS memorial quilt at the Athens Classic Center from February 18 to 20. The NAMES Foundation in San Francisco keeps and maintains the entire quilt, which began in 1987 and now weighs 54 tons and covers 23 acres. The small section that will be displayed in Athens will cover the floor in the Grand Hall, one of the Classic Center's largest rooms.
Olivia Long, executive director of AIDS Athens, states that the Athens display will include approximately 650 panels and explains that the people honored on those panels will include many from Northeast Georgia and Athens. She encourages local family or friends of anyone memorialized by a quilt panel to request that the panel be part of the show. Requests for the inclusion of a particular person's panel should be submitted via a form on the AIDS Athens website at www.aidsathens.org, or by calling Long at (706) 5493730. Community members who have made a panel for a loved one can bring it to the closing ceremony. AIDS Athens also will be adding a panel to the quilt that contains the names of more than 200 people from and near Athens who have died because of AIDS in the last 25 years.
The free quilt display will be open to the public beginning with an opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. on February 18, with the display continuing that evening until 9:00 p.m. Display hours for February 19 are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. On February 20, the display will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with a closing ceremony starting at 5:30 p.m. The Classic Center is located on Thomas Street in downtown Athens.