Bartlett students to display artwork
By Patriot Staff
WEBSTER – A section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the premier symbol of the AIDS pandemic, will be on display at the Webster Town Hall Auditorium for three days next week. “Faces of AIDS” artwork created by Bartlett High School students will be displayed along with the quilt. The Webster Board of Health is sponsoring the exhibit.
A formal, public ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 3. The program will start with hors-d'oeuvres and viewing of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and Art Show. Introductions will begin at 6:00 with a presentation by guest speaker Kevin Cranston, director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).
Following Mr. Cranston, Bartlett High students will read pieces of the research papers and essays they wrote as part of the AIDS awareness project. The Bartlett music department will be performing as well.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a product of the NAMES Project Foundation, established 25 years ago. The Quilt weighs 54 tons and is composed of 48,000 panels dedicated to more than 94,000 individuals who have died of AIDS. It serves as an educational tool for AIDS awareness and is considered the largest ongoing piece of community folk art in the world.
Portions of the quilt are displayed in 1,000 venues each year. It is being brought to Webster through the efforts of Health Agent Cathleen Liberty.
Ms. Liberty explained: “The Health Department's purpose is to show that AIDS is still a pandemic and continues to infect all ages, race and gender. I wanted to bring together the quilt and the students for educational purposes, in that if they have to research and write about it, they will have a better understanding of the infection and how it is transmitted.”
The artwork, called “The Faces of AIDS,” is a reflection on how AIDS does not discriminate and can affect anyone. The art is done by the 10th and 11th grade students at Bartlett and they went with a black and white theme. “The pieces are very nice,” Ms. Liberty said.
Ms. Liberty has been actively involved with AIDS education for many years and had made a quilt for a cousin who passed away years ago from AIDS. She has seen the quilt displayed in many other towns and calls it “powerful.” The Massachusetts DPH and Massachusetts Association of Health Boards offered local health departments mini grants of $500 for programs and other projects. She applied for such a grant, received it, and used it to pay the shipping fees to bring the quilt to Webster.
The public is invited to attend the official presentation Monday, December 3, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
The quilt and student art work can also be viewed during normal town hall hours December 4, 5, and 6.