November 26, 2002 — An art show that opened today at the University of Utah includes a painting by Randall Lake that depicts a man, having just died from AIDS, being lifted up to heaven by an angel. Lake’s “Death’s Sweet Release” is part of “Art Positive!”, an exhibit of artwork by people living with HIV/AIDS, which will show through Dec. 17 at the U’s Olpin Union Gallery. (Lake is the only artist in the show that is not HIV positive, but his work was included as the subject matter is relevant to the AIDS epidemic.)
“Art Positive!” is one of several University and community events surrounding World AIDS Day, Sunday, Dec. 1. On Sunday, worldwide events will highlight progress made in the battle against the AIDS epidemic as well as educate people on how much work still needs to be done in the crusade against the virus.
“Art Positive!”, which is free and open to the public, runs from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily, except on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28. The exhibit was organized by Art Acces/VSA Arts of Utah, which offers art guidance and visual arts supplies to adults living with AIDS, and is sponsored by the U’s Student Health Services, Office of Health Promotion and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center. For more information on the exhibit, call 801-587-7973.
To commemorate World AIDS Day, the University and a number of community agencies will host a candlelight vigil and interfaith service on Sunday, at 5 p.m. at the Fort Douglas Post Chapel, located at 120 S. Fort Douglas Blvd. The service will include prayer, music and the reading of names and lighting of candles in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to AIDS. The service will be followed by a social at the Officer’s Club, located at 150 S. Ford Douglas Blvd., at 6 p.m.
A quilt exhibit, featuring 30 quilt panels from The NAMES Project Foundation AIDS Memorial Quilt, a tribute to people who have died of AIDS, will be held on Sunday, from 4 until 7 p.m. in the Officer’s Club. Parking for the quilt show and the candlelight vigil is available at the University Guest House, 110 S. Fort Douglas Blvd.
“These AIDS awareness activities are important for us to sponsor on campus,” says Charles Milne, interim advisor to the LGBT Resource Center. “Compared to other groups, the numbers of AIDS cases is increasing among those 16 to 24 years of age. It is important to recognize that the public has become comfortable with AIDS. Some trends show that the number of AIDS cases is going up as people have become casual in their condom use.”
On Monday, Dec. 2, The NAMES Project Foundation AIDS Memorial Quilt panels will be on display in the Olpin Union Ballroom, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. This short exhibit is free and open to the public.
On Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., a World AIDS Day film series will be held in the Olpin Union Theatre. “Bloodlines: It Could Be You” is a 22-minute documentary about three young people infected with HIV who travel the U.S. to interview 20 other youths like themselves. “Long Time Companion” includes a collection of vignettes about the devastating and far-reaching impact of the AIDS epidemic on the lives of seven gay men. A panel discussion will follow the screenings.
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 12 until 1 p.m., there will be a Youth AIDS Panel, held in the Union Den. The group will explore how AIDS affects youth and the growing trends in the youth population.
Other community remembrances will include “Shrouding of Art” or “Day Without Art,” held on Friday, Dec. 6. This project began in 1989 as a national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis. Museums shut down and selected pieces of art were shrouded or displaced. Musicians silenced their instruments and dancers removed their dancing shoes to represent the losses the art community and the world has experienced from HIV/AIDS.
The Salt Lake Gallery Association will recognize “Day Without Art” with music and tributes at many of the galleries included on the Holiday Gallery Stroll on Friday, Dec. 6, from 6-9 p.m. For more information on the stroll, call 801-328-0703.
Red Ribbons, the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness, can be picked up at each of these events and worn as an international symbol of HIV and AIDS awareness.
Local World AIDS Day and “Day Without Art” sponsors and supporters include the Utah AIDS Foundation, the American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Salt Lake Valley Health Department, Harm Reduction Project, People With AIDS Coalition, VSA Arts/Art Access Gallery, Salt Lake Gallery Association, Project Reality and the University of Utah’s Offices of Health Promotion, Student Health Services and the LGBT Resource Center.
By the end of the year 2000, a total of 28.1 million people had died of AIDS. There were 3 million AIDS deaths last year-over 8,000 deaths per day-and 40 million people living with AIDS at the end of 2001. The total number of AIDS orphans is 13.2 million. For more information on World AIDS Day, go to www.worldaidsday.org.