KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Sections of the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt–the 54 1/2-ton, handmade tapestry that stands as a memorial to more than 96,000 individuals lost to AIDS–will be hosted by the Western Michigan University Department of Theatre and on view at the Gilmore Theatre Complex from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Feb. 5-9 and Feb. 12-16.
This free quilt display is being presented in conjunction with WMU Theatre's production of "Angels in America," and it will also be on display two hours before every scheduled performance. Arranged by CARES of Southwest Michigan, the exhibit includes three 12-by-12-foot panels.
Established in 1987, the NAMES Project Foundation—the international caretaker of the quilt—works to preserve, care for and use the AIDS Memorial Quilt to foster healing, advance social justice and inspire action. The quilt began in San Francisco 30 years ago with a single 3-by-6-foot panel, symbolically the size of a standard coffin. Today, this epic tapestry of hope and love includes more than 49,000 panels that have come from every state and were created by friends, lovers and family members in an attempt to transform loss and heartbreak into hope and healing.
In a war against a disease that has no cure, the AIDS Memorial Quilt has evolved as a potent tool in the effort to educate against the lethal threat of AIDS. By revealing the humanity behind the statistics, the quilt helps teach compassion, triumphs over taboo, stigma and phobia; and it inspires individuals to take direct responsibility for their own well-being and that of their family, friends and community.
Julie Rhoad, executive director of the NAMES Project Foundation explains, "We are eager to share the AIDS Memorial Quilt with your community for it is unlike any memorial ever created. With teddy bears and Boy Scout badges, love letters and photographs, this American treasure was created by the people for real people who were loved and lost to AIDS. We thank the University Theatre for their visionary efforts in hosting this event and invite you to see what wonderful healing art we have created together as a nation."
Sections are continuously on display across the country in schools, places of worship, community centers, businesses, corporations and a variety of other institutional settings all in the hope of making the realities of HIV and AIDS real, human and immediate. To date, more than 18 million people have seen the AIDS Memorial Quilt at tens of thousands of displays throughout the world.
For more information on the upcoming display at the University Theatre at the Gilmore Theatre Complex, call (269) 387-6222. For more information on the NAMES Project and the AIDS Memorial Quilt, visit aidsquilt.org or call the national headquarters at (404) 688-5500.
Angels in America
Performances of "Angels in America" will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9-10 and Feb. 15-17, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Williams Theatre located inside of the Gilmore Theatre Complex on campus.
For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.
Students perform 'Angels in America' at Williams Theatre | Jan. 26, 2108