There was a lot of publicity regarding the AIDS Memorial Quilt Project at its inception in 1987, and some of you may have wondered what has happened since then, in these 20 (Can you believe it?) years.
For those of you who may NOT know, the AIDS Memorial Quilt is the largest ongoing community project in the world. Each "block" or section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt measures approximately 12 feet square and a typical block consists of eight individual three foot by six foot panels sewn together. Virtually every one of the more than 44,000 colorful panels that make up the Quilt memorializes the life of a person lost to AIDS.
Today there are NAMES project chapters across the United States and independent Quilt affiliates around the world. Since 1987, over 14 million people have visited the Quilt at thousands of displays worldwide. (Yes, it has toured non-stop for 20 years - take THAT, Rolling Stones!) Through such displays, the NAMES Project Foundation (the "custodian" of the Quilt) has raised over $3 million for AIDS service organizations throughout North America.
The Quilt was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and remains the largest community art project in the world. The Quilt has been the subject of countless books, films, scholarly papers, articles, and theatrical, artistic and musical performances, including "Common Threads: Stories from The Quilt" which won the Academy Award as the best feature length documentary film of 1989.
The Quilt has redefined the tradition of quilt-making in response to contemporary circumstances. A memorial, a tool for education and a work of art, the Quilt is a unique creation, an uncommon and uplifting response to the tragic loss of human life.
For information on how to make a panel visit www.aidsquilt.org/makeapanel.htm. To see the Quilt's touring schedule visit www.aidsquilt.org/natdisplaysched.html. If your schedule permits, you may even volunteer at one of the display sites, for more information visit www.aidsquilt.org/volunteer.htm