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Kathryn Brown
IU Health Center, CAAG of Southern Indiana

AJ O'Reilly
Union Board Canvas director

Last modified: Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Portions of AIDS Memorial Quilt to be on display at IU's Indiana Memorial Union

WHAT: AIDS Memorial Quilt display.
WHEN: Nov. 11-15; An opening ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 11 at 6 p.m., with the exhibit remaining open until 9:30 p.m. The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Nov. 12-13; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Nov. 14; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on the final day, Nov. 15.
WHERE: Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St., Bloomington.
MORE INFORMATION: Prior to the opening ceremony, Union Board will host a student reception from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union Gallery.

The photography exhibit "Facing HIV/AIDS" will be on display in the Indiana Memorial Union Gallery from Nov. 7-12.

Oct. 27, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-- Sections of the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt -- a 54-ton, handmade tapestry commemorating more than 91,000 lives lost to AIDS -- will be on display at Indiana University November 11-15 at Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union.

AIDS Memorial Quilt

Photo by Anna Saraceno

The 520-panel exhibit will be the largest AIDS Memorial Quilt display in Indiana history.

The 520-panel exhibit will be the largest AIDS Memorial Quilt display in Indiana history. Related events include performances by Kaia, the Bloomington Peace Choir, Voces Novae, Quarryland Men's Chorus and the African American Choral Ensemble; multiple screenings of Common Threads, a documentary about the quilt; community quilting bees; and closing remarks from Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan. Visit for more information. All events are free and open to the public.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is presented by the Community AIDS Action Group (CAAG) of South Central Indiana, The Names Project and Union Board.

Prior to this event, the largest display in Indiana was in 1999, also in Alumni Hall.

Union Board, the largest student organization on campus, became part of the project to not only educate the Bloomington community as a whole about AIDS, but to make students more aware of the still present AIDS epidemic, said junior AJ O'Reilly, Union Board Canvas director.

"I hope people take away that it is still around and is not just an issue that is overseas," O'Reilly said. "The goal is to get people talking about these issues."

Many college-aged students do not know about the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was an essential part of late '80s and '90s culture, said sophomore Liz James, Union Board coordinator of the AIDS Quilt display.

"I think the AIDS Memorial Quilt display will make my generation more motivated to make a difference when they realize what the past generation has done to foster AIDS education and awareness," she said.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt display is a moving experience all the way through the opening to the closing ceremony, said Kathryn Brown, a sexual health educator at the IU Health Center and member of CAAG of Southern Indiana.

During the opening ceremony, names of AIDS victims will be read aloud during a symbolic unfolding of the quilt squares and the names will be read as the quilt squares are folded during the closing ceremony. Family members and friends created each of the panels in honor of a loved one who died of AIDS. Many of the panels, which are the size of coffins, are 3-D with personal items attached to them such as a T-shirt, teddy bear and jewelry.

"I want students to understand that if they have never been to a quilt display that it's a really emotional experience," Brown said. "It will be all over the walls, floors and the solarium. You walk around and you don't know where to look next. Once you walk in there you immediately realize that you just can't stay there for just five minutes."

History and significance of the AIDS Memorial Quilt

The AIDS Memorial Quilt began with a single panel created in San Francisco in 1987. The quilt is now composed of more than 47,000 panels, each one commemorating the life of someone who has died from an AIDS-related illness. These panels come from every state in the nation and every corner of the globe, and have been sewn by friends, lovers and family members into this epic memorial -- the largest piece of ongoing community art in the world.

In a war against a disease that has no cure, the AIDS Memorial Quilt helps make HIV and AIDS issues real, human and immediate. By revealing the humanity behind the statistics, the quilt helps teach compassion and inspires individuals to take direct responsibility for their own well-being and that of their family, friends and community.

For information please contact Kathryn Brown at 812-855-7338 or or contact Union Board at 812-855-4682. Interested in volunteering? Volunteers are needed to monitor the quilts, greet during the event and help with publicity. E-mail or with the number of people interested in volunteering, and what specific task you'd like to be involved with.

For any student or member of the community who wants additional information on HIV, the Bloomington Hospital Positive Link is one available resource for information or getting tested. Positive Link is also a resource to those who are infected with HIV and in need of assistance.