Quilt binding

World AIDS Day is Saturday, Dec. 1; an annual observation that “brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic.” This year marks the second of a five-year theme, “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.”

In Asheville, the Western North Carolina AIDS Project hosts a number of events leading up to World AIDS Day, including a display of sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

This is the fourth year that portions of the quilt have come to Asheville, says World AIDS Day chairperson and WNCAP board president Pam Siekman. “Each year we open it up to the community to request certain panels,” she says. As a result, “The exhibit takes on a life of its own.”

The quilt was started in ‘87 by a group in San Francisco who wanted to create a memorial to friends and loved ones they had lost to AIDS. Over the years, over 48,000 panels have been added. By ‘96 it covered the entire National Mall in Washington, D.C.; today it weighs in at 54 tons. The quilt travels the world and has been viewed by more than 14 million people and pays tribute to more than 94,000 lives lost to AIDS.

This year’s local exhibit, “A Tapestry of Lives,” is on display in the Atrium of the Haywood Park Hotel, all week (through Monday, Dec. 3) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Siekman says that in the new location (previous quilt exhibits have been displayed at Pack Place), the panels “look so alive and vibrant.” Panels shown in Asheville this year include one requested by a newcomer to the local community who stitched a panel for her father in the ‘90s. There are also two new panels, made this year in honor of Asheville residents lost to AIDS. “These will be part of an induction ceremony during the candlelight vigil,” says Siekman.

“WNCAP will provide age appropriate prevention education, as well as advocacy activities, alongside the exhibit, and local musicians will perform each day,” says a newsletter. The exhibit is free.

Photo by Castell Photography

On Saturday, Dec. 1, a candlelight memorial vigil will be held (also in the Atrium of the Haywood Park Hotel) from 7-9 p.m. Robert Thomas will perform live music.

Other events:
• “HIV/AIDS Public Policies and You,” a program held at the University Center, Multipurpose room at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee. Tuesday, Nov. 27,  7 p.m.

• “Code RED: Life’s a Ball,” held at Club Remix, Located below Club Hairspray (38 N. French Broad Ave.) on Friday, Nov. 30. Doors at 8 p.m., $10. Featuring DJ Ace I Rockwell, contest for best dressed in red, on-site HIV testing and more. 

• Screening of “How To Survive a Plague” at Carolina Cinemas (1640 Hendersonville Rd.) on Monday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m. Free; donation accepted to offset costs.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.