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The AIDS Quilt

The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, often abbreviated to AIDS Memorial Quilt, is an enormous "quilt made as a memorial to celebrate the lives of people who have died of "AIDS-related causes. Weighing an estimated 54 tons, it is the largest piece of "community folk art in the world as of 2016.["citation needed]


History and structure[edit]

The idea for the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt was conceived in 1985 by AIDS activist "Cleve Jones during the candlelight march, in remembrance of the "1978 assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor "Harvey Milk and Mayor "George Moscone. For the march, Jones had people write the names of loved ones that were lost to AIDS-related causes on signs that would be taped to the San Francisco Federal Building. All the signs taped to the building looked like an enormous patchwork quilt to Jones, and he was inspired.[1] It officially started in 1987 in "San Francisco by Jones, Mike Smith, and volunteers Joseph Durant, Jack Caster, Gert McMullin, Ron Cordova, Larkin Mayo and Gary Yuschalk. At that time many people who died of AIDS-related causes did not receive funerals, due to both the social stigma of AIDS felt by surviving family members and the outright refusal by many funeral homes and cemeteries to handle the deceased's remains.[2] Lacking a memorial service or grave site, The Quilt was often the only opportunity survivors had to remember and celebrate their loved ones' lives. The first showing of The Quilt was 1987 on the National Mall in Washington, DC.[3] The Quilt was last displayed in full on "the Mall in "Washington, D.C., in 1996,[4] but it returned in July 2012 to coincide with the start of the "XIX International AIDS Conference, 2012.[5]

The Quilt is a memorial to and celebration of the lives of people lost to the "AIDS pandemic. Each panel is 3 feet (0.91 m) by 6 feet (1.8 m), approximately the size of the average grave; this connects the ideas of AIDS and death more closely, even though only about 20% of the people lost to AIDS related causes are represented.[6] The Quilt is still maintained and displayed by The NAMES Project Foundation.

In observance of National HIV-Testing Day in June 2004 the 1,000 newest "blocks were displayed by the Foundation on "The Ellipse in Washington, D.C.[7] The largest display of The Quilt since it was last displayed in its entirety in October 1996, the 1,000 blocks displayed consisted of every panel submitted at or after the 1996 display.

In 1997, the NAMES Project headquarters moved from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., and in 2001 the quilt panels were moved from San Francisco to "Atlanta, Georgia.[8] The NAMES Project Foundation is now headquartered in Atlanta, and has 21 chapters in the United States and more than 40 affiliate organizations worldwide. The AIDS Memorial Quilt itself is also warehoused in Atlanta when not being displayed, and continues to grow, currently consisting of more than 48,000 individual memorial panels (over 94,000 people) and weighing an estimated 54 tons.[9]

Goal and achievement[edit]

The goal of the Quilt is to bring awareness to how massive the AIDS pandemic really is, and to bring support and healing to those affected by it. Another goal is to raise funds for community based "AIDS service organizations, to increase their funding for AIDS prevention and education. As of 1996, more than $1.7 million had already been raised, and the effort continues to this day.[10]

Panel composition[edit]

Typically very personalized, individual quilt panels are created by the loved ones of someone who has died of AIDS-related causes. Each 3' by 6' panel is the size of a human "grave and the panels are donated to The NAMES Project Foundation where they are grouped with other similar panels and assembled into 12' by 12' sections, called "blocks". These blocks can be seen at local displays of The Quilt, typically containing 8 individual panels.

Techniques used in making panels include "patchwork, "applique, "embroidery, fabric painting, "collage, spray paint and "needlepoint, along with other methods.

Items and materials included in the panels:

Examples of panels[edit]

Those who submit panels do not have to know the person, but they do have to feel some sort of connection with the individual that they want people to recognize. For example, to memorialize "Queen lead-singer "Freddie Mercury, there were many panels made, two of which were a solid white background with a blue and black guitar, and "Freddy Mercury" written down the sides in black, with the AIDS ribbon above his name,[11] and a purple silk with "Freddie Mercury," "Queen," and "1946–1991" in silver applique, along with two pictures of Mercury with Queen.[12]

Many panels were also made for the actor "Rock Hudson, one of which consisted of a navy blue background with silver "Rock Hudson" and stars, above a rainbow with the word "Hollywood".[13]

Other panels are made by loved ones and then attached to make one large block. Some are flamboyant and loud, whereas some are more muted and simple; either way they all carry their own set of emotions.[14]

Recognition and influence[edit]

Projects inspired by NAMES[edit]

The AIDS Memorial Quilt was the first of its kind as a continually growing monument created piecemeal by thousands of individuals, and today it constitutes the largest piece of community folk art in the world.[19] It was seemingly inevitable that The Quilt be followed by a variety of memorials and awareness projects, both AIDS-related and otherwise, that have been inspired by and modeled after The AIDS Memorial Quilt and its caretaker The NAMES Project Foundation. Examples of these include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of the Quilt". The AIDS Memorial Quilt. Retrieved March 29, 2017. 
  2. ^ Laderman, Gary (2003). Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth Century America. "Oxford University Press. p. 198. "ISBN "978-0195183559. 
  3. ^ Hirshman, Linda (2012). "Chapter 7: ACT UP: Five Years That Shook the World". Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution. New York, New York: "Harper. p. 212. "ISBN "978-0-06-196550-0. As part of that project, in 1987, the NAMES Project took the quilt, then two thousand squares, to the National Mall in Washington, DC, and spread it out before the lawmakers they thought could make the United State government do something different. 
  4. ^ "AIDS quilt unfurled in Washington to commemorate victims". CNN. 1996-10-11. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  5. ^ "AIDS Memorial Quilt returning to D.C." "Washington Blade. 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  6. ^ "The AIDS Memorial Quilt". Public Broadcasting Atlanta. February 23, 2009. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. 
  7. ^ Fernandez, Manny (June 26, 2004). "Unfurling Their Love and Loss;". "The Washington Post. pp. B01. 
  8. ^ "AIDS quilt moving to Atlanta from SF". Associated Press. 2001-02-07. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  9. ^ "The AIDS Memorial Quilt". Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Ellis, Fay (April 7, 1996). "32,000 Panels in Aids Quilt, 32,000 Victims". "The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Freddy Mercury AIDS quilt panel". "Flickr. Retrieved 23 February 2009. 
  12. ^ "Freddie Mercury AIDS Quilt panel". "Flickr. Retrieved 23 February 2009. 
  13. ^ "Rock Hudson AIDS Quilt panel". "Flickr. Retrieved 23 February 2009. 
  14. ^ "AIDS Quilt panel". Retrieved 25 February 2009. 
  15. ^ Plant, Drew (2003-03-01). "Songbird with a Mission". A&U Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  16. ^ Rockwell, John (1990-03-18). "Review/Music; Contemporary Anguish In Corigliano Symphony". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  17. ^ Kozinn, Allan (1993-03-30). "William Parker, Baritone, Dies; Specialist in Art Songs Was 49". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  18. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-10-28. 
  19. ^ McKinley, Jesse (2007-01-31). "Fight Over Quilt Reflects Changing Times in Battle Against AIDS". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  20. ^ "KIA Memorial Quilt - Dedicated to US Military Personnel Killed in Iraq". Archived from the original on 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  21. ^ "September 11 Quilts Home Page". September11quilts.org. 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  22. ^ "United in Memory". United in Memory. 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  23. ^ "9-11 Memorial Quilt Project Home Page". Wtcquilt.com. 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  24. ^ "Americas 9/11 Memorial Quilts". 911memorialquilts.com. Archived from the original on July 28, 2016. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  25. ^ "HD Memorial Quilts". Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  26. ^ "Thechdquilt". Thechdquilt.homestead.com. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  27. ^ "Breast Cancer Quilt". Prevention.com. Archived from the original on 2006-05-04. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  28. ^ "Clinical Centers, Departments and Services | Boston Children's Hospital". Childrenshospital.org. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  29. ^ "AIDS Panels of Remembrance, Stonewall Chico". Archived from the original on 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  30. ^ "Australian Aids Quilt". Archived from the original on 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  31. ^ "The New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt". Aidsquilt.org.nz. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  32. ^ "Project Stitch –". Interactionart.org. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  33. ^ Vollmer, Sabine (2010-12-03). "Visiting Second Life to see the 3D AIDS quilt « Science in the Triangle". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  34. ^ "AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts: Virtual AIDS Quilt". Archived from the original on 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  35. ^ "Southern AIDS Living Quilt — Women Joining Together Fighting HIV/AIDS in the South". Archived from the original on 2009-03-31. Retrieved March 29, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Memorial-Columbians Who Have Died From AIDS". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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