Stemming from an initial 3' x 6' foot panel created in San Francisco in 1987, the famous AIDS Memorial Quilt has since grown to consist of more than 47,000 panels and has even been anointed by Congress as a National Treasure.
Now the NAMES Project Foundation, which is the official custodial organization in charge of The Quilt, is calling for volunteers as it prepares to bring all 54 tons of The Quilt back to the nation's capitol for a variety of activities taking place in June and July.
The quilt was last displayed in full on The Mall in Washington D.C. in 1996. The expressed purpose of The Quilt is to make the realities of HIV and AIDS relevant and immediate. To date, more than 15 million people have seen The Quilt at tens of thousands of displays throughout the world.
"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 Foundation. "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 D.C. hosts the XIX Internationals AIDS Conference this summer, The Quilt will be strewn about the capitol region. Portions of the massive quilt will be displayed on part of the National Mall as well as over 40 additional venues throughout the greater Washington area.
"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 share its power with a largely new audience and in doing so place HIV/AIDS squarely back into the public conscience," said Rhoad.
Currently, the Quilt is the largest piece of ongoing community art in the world. Its panels originate from every station in the union as well as from every region across the planet.
For a listing of all the venues scheduled to display panels of The Quilt this summer, go to www.Quilt2012.org
The Foundation welcomes the public to volunteer – volunteers are needed for a wide variety of event support this summer for The Quilt. To register as a volunteer, please go to www.Quilt2012.org
Funding for this monumental event is still needed. To donate, go to www.AIDSquilt.org. Sponsorships are still available. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please call Julie Rhoad, president & CEO of The NAMES Project Foundation at 404-688-5500.
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