The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the largest on-going community arts project in the world. Each of the over 41,000 colorful panels in the Quilt was made to remember the life of a person lost to AIDS. Panels are 3 feet by 6 feet — the size of a human grave. As the epidemic claims more lives, the Quilt continues to grow. The Quilt stands for more than the tens of thousands of people whose names are sewn into the fabric. It stands, as well, for the sorrow, anger, love and hope of people who make panels.
What is a panelmaker?
A panelmaker is someone who has made a panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Anyone can be a panelmaker: panels are made by family members, friends, lovers, co-workers and others; working in groups or individually.
They are young and old; rich and poor; gay, straight and bisexual. They are as diverse as those affected by the epidemic, as richly unique as each panel in the Quilt itself. All it takes is fabric, a little imagination, and the desire to remember and pay tribute to a special person who has died of AIDS.
You can be a panelmaker, too. Here are instructions on how to make a panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Visit our gallery of Quilt panels to see what others have done.
Panels from the Quilt are displayed in community centers, schools, churches and office buildings all over the world. Check out the schedule of where the Quilt will be displayed.
If you are looking for a way to become involved there is more information in the NAMES Project’s Quilt display programs section of the site.
Quilting as a tradition
Many cultures around the world have traditions of fabric arts. The AIDS Memorial Quilt is based upon the American tradition of quilting. In the past, neighbors and relatives would gather in groups to sew old scraps of fabric together to make blankets. These blankets, called “quilts,” were beautiful works of art which also provided warmth and comfort.
Working together made people feel like a community, giving them the chance to tell stories, trade gossip, sing songs, and enjoy each other’s company as they sewed. Today, as people gather together to make panels for the AIDS Memorial Quilt, this tradition gives comfort in a time of grief.
Donate today to help us continue our fight to raise awareness and find a cure.
Click here for more information on The Last One, a feature-length documentary tracing the history of The AIDS Memorial Quilt.
The NAMES Project stages Quilt displays each year in a variety of venues in hopes of making HIV/AIDS real and immediate.
Hosting a display is easy, affordable and important. Join the effort to educate and inspire by hosting a display of The AIDS Memorial Quilt in your community.
You don't have to be an artist or sewing expert to create a moving personal tribute remembering a life lost to AIDS. Find support and step by step instructions here.