Salt Lake City goes red on World AIDS Day

Salt Lake City will turn red on Thursday, Dec. 1 in honor of World AIDS Day. The list of activities and events includes a presentation of a joint resolution honoring the day by Mayor Ralph Becker, a fundraising party for the Utah AIDS Foundation at the Hotel Monaco, movie screenings, open-mic poetry readings and a Day Without Art, honoring the contributions made by artists who have, or had, HIV/AIDS.

World AIDS Day was named in 1988 and it is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have passed on. Since the infection began spreading in 1981, more than 1.7 million U.S. citizens have become infected with disease. The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than one million people are living with HIV and about 20 percent of them do not know they are infected.

Salt Lake City Ceremony

To honor the day, Salt Lake City is hosting its third annual presentation and ceremony. Mayor Becker, the Salt Lake City Council, the Utah AIDS Foundation and the People with AIDS Coalition of Utah will gather on Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30 p.m. for a special World AIDS Day resolution presentation and ceremony at the Salt Lake City and County Building. The culmination of the event is a red lighting of the building and a unified citywide bell-ringing tribute to those who have lost their lives to HIV and AIDS and those who continue to be affected by the disease. The event is open to the public and will also feature speakers, performances from Rowland Hall musicians and a candlelight vigil. Complimentary hot beverages will be provided by Starbucks. The ceremony will also feature a symbolic veiling of Ruby Slippers by DeWayne Sessions in observance of Day Without Art.

Day Without Art

The Day Without Art is a response by local artists, galleries, activists, and community groups to the increasing personal loss of lives due to HIV/AIDS.

“So many talented artists have died of AIDS, and by participating in Day Without Art, Art Access/VSA Utah is honoring their work and mourning the loss of their contribution to the arts. Art Access has always valued the artwork of people living with HIV/AIDS, whether it be through offering workshops specifically for people with HIV/AIDS, or by inviting them to participate in our Adult Workshops and gallery exhibitions. We are honored to be a part of this important day,” said Sheryl Gillilan, executive director of Art Access/VSA Utah.

To make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone, and to inspire positive action, more than eight hundred arts and AIDS groups participated in the first Day Without Art, shutting down museums, sending staff to volunteer at AIDS services or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS.  Since then, Day Without Art has grown into a collaborative project in which an estimated 8,000 museums, galleries, arts centers, AIDS service organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges take part on both the national and international levels.

The Art Access/VSA Utah, 230 S. 500 West, will participate in the Day Without Art on Friday, Dec. 2 as part of the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll from 6-9 p.m. This is the third year the gallery has participated. For more information, go to AccessArt.org.

The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll is partnering with Art Access and the Utah Health Department and all the galleries participating in the stroll on Dec. 2 will have at least one shrouded piece of art. For a full list of galleries, locations and times, go to SaltLakeGalleryStroll.org.

Red Party

The seventh annual ‘Seasons of Love’ Red Party, an event to raise money for the Utah AIDS Foundation on World AIDS Day, will be held at Hotel Monaco on Dec. 1, 5:30-8 p.m. The Red Party is part of a national fundraiser held by all Kimpton-owned properties on, or around, World AIDS Day for local charities, and Utah has consistently raised more money than any other area, said Shawn Jackson, the entertainment guru at Hotel Monaco.Last year, the event raised more than $33,000 and in 2009, it raised $28,000 for the UAF.

“This really is it. The big party. The one we look forward to. It’s just a great time and so much fun,” said Jackson. Admission to the event starts at $35. To purchase tickets or for more information, go to UtahAIDS.org or call 801-487-2323.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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