WNCAP Presents The AIDS Memorial Quilt

WNCAP Presents the AIDS Memorial Quilt: Loss, Life & Love

November 20th – November 25th

Asheville Renaissance Hotel 

Quilt exhibit open daily during the week, 10:00 am- 7:00 pm (Closed Thanksgiving Day)
Please contact WNCAP Special Events Coordinator Randy Rodriguez to request a special tour our educational session: 828.252.7489 ext. 313 or randy@wncap.org

What is the AIDS Quilt?

The project began in the June 1987 when a small group gathered in San Francisco to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

In 1987, 1,920 panels were first displayed in the nation’s capital during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, to highlight the scale of the epidemic. By 2007, the Quilt included more than 46,000 panels representing over 80,000 people and it continues to grow. It is a memorial to those lost to AIDS, a tool for preventing new HIV infections, and the world’s largest ongoing community art project.

AIDS Memorial Quilt

Each section of the AIDS Quilt is twelve feet square, and typically consists of eight individual three foot by six foot panels sewn together. There are currently more than 40,000 panels, and virtually every one of them memorializes the life of a person lost to AIDS.

Throughout its history, The AIDS Memorial Quilt has been used to fight prejudice, raise awareness and funding, as a means to link hands with the global community in the struggle against AIDS, and as an effective tool in HIV and AIDS education and prevention. We honor all of those impacted by HIV/ AIDS by bringing 20 blocks of the Quilt panels to Asheville for a week of commemoration and awareness.

The WNCAP Quilt Exhibit includes fourteen 12×12 foot blocks, each one made up of 8 or more individual panels, pay tribute to those who died from AIDS-related causes. Many of the panels memorialize people from the local Western North Carolina area who passed away. Others are more far-flung, such as one block made entirely of international panels. It is a solemn and moving exhibit, but also an inspiring display of the love and activism that was generated by the AIDS epidemic.

Documentary Screening: “The Last One”

Saturday, November 25th, 2017, 3:00 pm & 5:00 pm

Asheville Renaissance Hotel

In the eighties and nineties, as the United States gay community was being ravaged by AIDS, families and friends of the dying fought a public battle to find treatment and understanding. The AIDS Memorial Quilt was conceived “as a weapon against not only the disease but the cruelty and bigotry that the disease exposed,” according to one of its founders, Cleve Jones. Today the Quilt is a handmade testament to both the struggle of the early days of the epidemic and its continued impact today, as panels representing lives lost to the disease continue to stream in from all over the world. The Last One is a feature-length documentary that frames the quest to sew the last panel into the Quilt, representing the end of AIDS.

Through archival footage, verite scenes and interviews with founder Cleve Jones, self-described “Hand Maiden of the Quilt” Gert McMullin, and other early volunteers and panel makers, The Last One uncovers the birth of The AIDS Memorial Quilt and its subsequent impact on politics, science and the media. Through activists like Patricia Nalls and Regan Hoffman, the film explores the role the Quilt continues to play as a response to a disease that, while treatable for some, still affects vulnerable communities around the world.

In 1987, a single panel–unlike any other panel submitted before or since–was delivered anonymously to The NAMES Project Foundation/AIDS Memorial Quilt with no letter, no background, no instructions. But the caretakers of The Quilt knew just what to do with this panel: Hold on to it and to the hope it conveyed until it could be sewn into The AIDS Memorial Quilt as “The Last One.”

It is now not only possible, but realistic to imagine an end to stigma and an end to AIDS. It is possible to imagine a day when the NAMES Project can sew “The Last One” panel into The AIDS Memorial Quilt. Science has begun to articulate a new AIDS narrative: if we test and treat enough people globally, the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic can be changed and we will begin to end AIDS, and The Last One can become a reality.


  Memorial Quilt Opening Night Reception

Monday, November 20th, 2017, 6:00-8:00 pm

Asheville Renaissance Hotel

The opening reception for the Quilt display was on Monday, November 20th. Cantaria, The Gay Men’s Chorus of Asheville, performed, and WNCAP Executive Director Brodderick Roary gave a moving speech about the enduring power of the AIDS Quilt. Most of the event was streamed online in real time using Facebook Live. If you didn’t get a chance to attend the event in person, check out the live stream above!

Volunteers Needed For Quilt Exhibit Hosts!

We are still looking for volunteers to be exhibit hosts, or “docents”, for the Quilt display. Exhibit hosts will greet exhibit-goers, provide them with an information card and act as a pleasant and professional representative of WNCAP and monitor of the Quilt. Contact WNCAP Community Resource Coordinator Chris Winebrenner at wncapvolunteer@wncap.org or (828) 252-7489 ext. 315 to schedule your 3-hour shift. We had some amazing volunteers help set up the Quilt on Sunday, November 19th. Check out this cool time lapse video of the setup – makes it look easy, doesn’t it?