Logo - The Aids Memorial Quilt, The Names Project Foundation

Quilt panels, Nashville in Harmony return for World AIDS Day observation

Release Date: 11/20/2008. Expired: 12/1/2008

For the fifth year, The Renaissance Center in Dickson will observe World AIDS Day by hosting panels from the internationally recognized AIDS Memorial Quilt on Monday, Dec. 1.

In addition to the one-day quilt display, the center will host a free reception 7-8:30 p.m. featuring a performance by Nashville in Harmony at 6:30 p.m.

“The display of panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt is a tradition The Renaissance Center is proud to continue in order to keep attention focused on the worldwide epidemic that is AIDS,” said Amanda Dillingham, curator at the center. “By hosting the quilt panels we remember the lives lost to this horrible disease by celebrating the lives lived.”

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the world’s largest community art project, consisting of thousands of quilt panels, each one memorializing a victim of AIDS. The NAMES Project Foundation coordinates the quilt project that has panels in traveling displays serving as memorials and to raise awareness in the battle against AIDS.

“This tradition at The Renaissance Center is a positive step in the ongoing battle to promote awareness and education in response to the global AIDS epidemic,” Dillingham said.

Nashville in Harmony is a 52-member mixed soprano/alto/tenor/bass chorus comprised of members and supporters of Middle Tennessee’s GLBT community. Directed by Don Schlosser, Nashville in Harmony performs all styles of music, from classical to pop, in a unique style that fosters community, joy and fun. Membership is by audition and the group rehearses weekly throughout the year.

Schlosser began as music director of Nashville in Harmony in 2005 after 17 years as a full-time church choral director in three states, and after 10 years as a music producer for a Nashville church-based publisher. Fluent in Spanish, he has also taught seminars and conducted choirs in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Costa Rica. He has written, arranged and published keyboard and choral music for adults, students and children.  He holds both a bachelor of arts in piano performance and a master of church music in composition. Schlosser is the proud father of 18-year-old twins, Garrett and Danika, and Kevin, a United States Army Ranger.

Nashville in Harmony will perform selected songs from its upcoming season in the rotunda of The Renaissance Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.

One man’s desire to remember victims of AIDS led to the creation of what is now recognized as the largest community art project in the world. The AIDS Memorial Quilt, with the names of more than 91,000 victims of the disease, which only represents 17.5% of all U.S. AIDS deaths. The quilt project was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has been viewed by more than 15.2 million people.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt was initiated by Cleve Jones, who was the organizer of an annual candlelight march in San Francisco to remember Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. While planning the 1985 march, Jones learned that more than 1,000 San Franciscans had died from AIDS. He asked his fellow marchers to write on placards the names of friends and loved ones who had died from the disease and when those placards were taped to the wall of the San Francisco Federal Building, it looked like a patchwork quilt.

Inspired by the sight, Jones and friends began planning a larger memorial and a year later he created the first panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of his friend Marvin Feldman. The NAMES Project Foundation was created by Jones, Mike Smith and others in June 1987.

That October the Quilt was displayed in Washington D.C. for the first time with 1,920 3-foot-by-6-foot panels, each honoring an AIDS victim. It returned to Washington in 1988 with 8,288 panels and the tradition of reading the names displayed on the quilts began.

By 1992, the AIDS Memorial Quilt included panels from every state and 28 countries and in January 1993 the NAMES Project Foundation was invited to march in President Clinton’s inaugural parade.

The Quilt has now grown to more than 46,000 panels. It was last displayed in its entirety in Washington in 1996.

Sections of the Quilt are used in displays throughout the world to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic and those displays have raised more than $4 million for AIDS service organizations.

For more information on the AIDS Memorial Quilt, visit www.aidsquilt.org.

For more information on the display of quilt panels at The Renaissance Center for World AIDS Day on Monday, Dec. 1, call (615) 740-5600 or visit www.rcenter.org.

The Renaissance Center is a fine arts education and performing arts center at 855 Highway 46 South in Dickson, just 35 miles west of Nashville on Interstate 40 at exit 172.

Visit the Visual Arts Gallery page for more about the gallery.

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