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World AIDS Day

November 1998

World AIDS Day, observed annually on December 1, is an effort to strengthen the global response to the challenges of the AIDS pandemic. It is designed to encourage public support for programs that prevent the spread of HIV infection and to provide education and awareness of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

This year's theme, "Be a Force for Change," focuses on young people between the ages of 15 and 24. It is a call for action, aimed at motivating young people here and around the world to commit themselves to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS among themselves and their peers and throughout their communities.

For those of us involved in the fight against AIDS -- the infected and affected -- World AIDS Day is a time to reflect on where we and the epidemic have been, the loved ones who are gone, and the battles we've won or lost. It's also a time to remind ourselves that it's far from over, and to renew our commitment to helping those who have the virus and to preventing its spread to others.

World AIDS Day is observed in many different ways. Some of the planned commemorative events are listed here.


Day With(out) Art

Day Without Art was first observed on World AIDS Day 1989, when artworks in museums and galleries were shrouded as a visual reminder of the devastation AIDS was visiting on artistic communities. In its tenth year, it has evolved into a Day With Art, a day of action and mourning that demonstrates the power of art to raise awareness of the ongoing AIDS pandemic.

This year's Day With(out) Art theme is "A Day in the Life ... (of AIDS)," and the day's observances are being coordinated by Visual AIDS. Events in New York include:

Museum of American Folk Art, 2 Lincoln Square
9:30-11:30 a.m.
Light breakfast reception to showcase "Remembering Moments from a Life" by Michael Ransom. Poetry and prose responses to the work will be read by students from LaGuardia High School.

Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street
10:45 a.m.
Press launch of The Virtual Collection, the first digital database of artworks created by artists with HIV/AIDS. The works were drawn together by The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS.

New York Public Library, 42nd Street & Fifth Avenue
All day.
Patience and Fortitude, the stately lions who guard the library's main entrance, will be fashionably decked out in red AIDS ribbons.

Thundergulch, 55 Broad Street
12:30 p.m.
As part of Lunchtime @ The Wall, a brief web tour honoring the tenth anniversay of Day Without Art and its new online presence will be conducted by Visual AIDS Director Barbara Hunt and Carol Stakenas of Creative Time.

Brooklyn Museum of Art, 200 Eastern Parkway
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Continuing the launch of The Estate Project's launch of The Virtual Collection (see MoMA entry), a large-screen projection of the digital database will be shown, along with opportunities to meet some of the artists represented within it. Works from the Brooklyn Museum collection by Bruce Cratsley, Peter Hujar, Robert Mapplethorpe, and David Swojnarowicz will also be exhibited.

Museo Del Barrio, Heckscher Building, 1230 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street)
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Community vigil and neighborhood walk beginning in the Museo Del Barrio.

Museum of Television and Radio, 25 West 52nd Street
All day.
Screenings of relevant episodes of television series, including programs from St. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope, Designing Women, Law & Order, and Homicide: Life on the Street.

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street
6:30-9:00 p.m.
Diverse Tactics, a discussion of the hard and soft approaches to AIDS Awareness campaigns. Panel discussion of the impact of various kinds of visual imagery as a tool for AIDS awareness.

Several ongoing exhibitions have also been arranged in observance of World AIDS Day

Art in General, 79 Walker Street November 21, 1998-January 16, 1999.
Steed Taylor's "I Am the Love You Have Given Me" is a window installation exploring the idea of love expressed through correspondence.

Richard Anderson Fine Arts, 453 West Seventeenth Street, Fourth Floor
October 27-December 1
In Eric Rhein's solo exhibition, "Drawings" in wire combined with delicate found objects create seductive and poignant monuments to friends who died of complications of AIDS.

St. Marks-in-the-Bowery, 131 East Tenth Street
November 20-December 11
Visual AIDS presents two figurative painters, Niccolo Cataldi and Ricardo Morin, who evocatively portray the lives and emotions of friends and family.

Night Without Light

The Night Without Light tradition as a symbol of commitment to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS will be led by the White House, which will dim its lights from 7:45 to 8:00 p.m. on World AIDS Day.

In years past, the Broadway theaters have been New York's most visible Night Without Light participants. At press time, it was not yet clear whether the tradition would continue this year.

Names Reading

Tell the Mayor: People with AIDS Are Dying

For the fifth year, Housing Works will host a day-long vigil at City Hall Park. The event will begin at midnight with a lone reader at a microphone reciting the names of people who have died. At dawn, four more readers will gradually join in, until five voices are intermingling, suggesting the overwhelming devastation of our communities.

To submit names to be read, to volunteer as a reader, or for more information, call Michelle Sajous, World AIDS Day Coordinator, at (212) 966-0466, Ext. 296.

The Names Project Quilt

Approximately 2,000 individual panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt (which now contains more than 43,000 panels) will be visiting New York between November 30 and December 4. They will be exhibited at more than 75 different venues -- schools, libraries, churches, office buildings -- in all five boroughs. New quilt squares will be accepted, and information about preparing panels will be available.

A list of sites where panels will be exhibited is available by calling The NAMES Project's New York City Chapter at (212) 226-2292. (This all-volunteer project uses voicemail, and warns that it may take a few days for someone to get back to you.) At the national organization's website,, you can ask about specific panels and whether they will be part of the New York exhibition.

More Activities

Other groups are planning their own commemorations. The list below is far from exhaustive. Check with your local AIDS service organization, school, place of worship, community center, or library to find out what's going on in your area.

Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center
1249 Fifth Avenue
Besides hosting a quilt display from November 26 through December 2, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., the Cooke Center plans a Celebration of Life at 2:15 p.m. on December 1, and a Remembrance Service at 7:30 that evening.

American Foundation for AIDS Research
This one's for the more affluent of our readers: On November 30, AmFAR is hosting "Seasons of Hope," a gala to honor Clive Davis, Tom Hanks, and Barbara Walters. It will be at the World Financial Center, November 30, cocktails at 6:30, dinner and entertainment at 7:30. Tickets start at $750; call Buckley Hall Events, (212) 573-6933.

Benson AIDS Series #9
The Benson AIDS Series exists primarily to promote the work of gifted composers and musicians who are living with HIV/AIDS and to preserve the creative legacy of those who have died. This year's World AIDS Day presentation is Song from HOWL and the premiere of songs from the musical Raft of the Medusa, presented November 30 at 8:00 p.m. at the Middle College Church, Second Avenue and Seventh Street, Tickets are $10 and $15, T.F. $7. For information and reservations, call (212) 477-1594 or (212) 477-0666.

The HIV Center of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center
St. Luke's Hospital, Muhlenberg Conference Room, Chapel Entrance; West 113th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive December 1, 12:00 noon-2:00 p.m.
World AIDS Day commemoration: Live music, lunch, token reimbursement.

The Black Church Speaks! AIDS: A National Emergency in the African American Community
December 1, 7:00 p.m. (Doors open 5:30 p.m.)
Mother A.M.E. Zion Church
140 West 137th Street.
The Balm in Gilead presents speakers from the African American religious community.

Out of the Darkness
St. Bernard's Catholic School Auditorium 327 West Thirteenth Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
AREA -- American Run for the End of AIDS will produce its seventh annual rally and candlelight march. A short reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. will precede the 7:00 p.m. program, which will include addresses by leaders in the fight against AIDS and performances by artists equally committed to the cause. A Signature Quilt Square will be available to leave memorials to those lost to AIDS, and new quilt panels will be accepted for the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The march will begin at 8:00 p.m. and conclude at City hall park, where participants will join the 24-hour Reading of the names.

Illustration reprinted with permission from The American Association for World Health

Back to the November 1998 Issue of Body Positive Magazine.

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This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.