The AIDS quilt has come home for a visit.
Considered by organizers to be the largest participatory art project in the world, the AIDS Memorial Quilt began spontaneously on San Francisco’s Market Street a generation ago, when gay rights activist Cleve Jones asked people to create quilt panels memorializing loved ones who had died of AIDS-related causes.
That was in 1987; today, over 91,000 individuals have been memorialized on more than 5,800 quilt panels, each the symbolic size of a coffin (3 X 6 ft.).
While “living with AIDS” has now largely replaced the phrase “dying from AIDS,” organizers say that, on average, a new quilt piece still arrives every day.
This week’s exhibition is the largest display of The Quilt in San Francisco since the foundation moved to Atlanta in 1999.
Sections of the quilt are on view in five locations in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood through next Monday, February 20, including at Under One Roof, a retail merchant on Castro Street whose purpose is to raise funds for AIDS service organizations.