WCU to host AIDS Memorial Quilt Dec. 3-6

Western Carolina University will host a display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from Monday, Dec. 3, through Thursday, Dec. 6, in the A.K. Hinds University Center Grandroom.

The quilt is a composite of three-foot by six-foot panels, each commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS. Since its creation in 1987, the quilt has grown to include more than 45,000 panels made from of a variety of materials and objects. It was nominated for a Nobel Peace Price in 1989 and is the largest community art project in the world.

The quilt was first displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in October 1987 and included 1,920 panels. The following year, it nearly tripled in size during a four-month, 20-city national tour. By 1998, the quilt included panels from every U.S. state and 28 countries.

The four-day display at Western will include 72 panels and will be open from noon until 7 p.m. on Dec. 3 and from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Dec. 4 through Dec. 6.

An opening ceremony will take place at noon on Dec. 3, and a mid-week performance by musical theatre students, titled “Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5.

Cleve Jones, founder of the AIDS Quilt and author of “Stitching a Revolution,” will speak during a closing ceremony at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Grandroom. Jones is co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and has served as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Harvard AIDS Institute and the National Board of Governors of Project Inform.

“The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a great way to raise awareness about an epidemic that affects millions of people across the world,” said Karrie Joseph, WCU wellness coordinator. “The power and beauty of the quilt reflects the power and beauty of each person that it memorializes.”

For more information about the display, volunteer opportunities or adding a panel to the quilt, contact the Wellness Center at (828) 227-2937 or at wellnesscenter@email.wcu.edu.