We’re gonna need a bigger box of Kleenex, because the largest AIDS Memorial Quilt display since the 2012 Washington, D.C. National Mall display — and the largest ever here in San Francisco — is set for June 11 and 12 in Golden Gate Park.
Yes, we know, SFist had previously informed you that San Francisco’s largest AIDS Memorial Quilt display ever was coming to Golden Gate Park. But that was in February 2020, and you realize what happened shortly thereafter. Yet that display was merely delayed, not canceled, by COVID-19, and the quilt’s 35th anniversary is coming up in June.
And so we are going to get that big display, as the Examiner reports that the largest ever San Francisco AIDS Quilt display is scheduled for June 11 and 12 in Robin Williams Meadow and in the National AIDS Memorial Grove. The event, with 3,000 panels on display, will be free.
“Bring family, bring friends,” AIDS Memorial CEO John Cunningham told the Examiner. “Experience the largest community arts project on earth.”
This display won’t be the full quilt, which is now 50,000 panels, with 110,000 names, and weighs 54 tons (The full quilt is currently warehoused in San Leandro.) But there will be 100 new panels never seen in public before on display, as regrettably, we are still losing roughly 5,000 people a year to HIV here in the U.S alone.
June's display in Golden Gate Park will be the largest AIDS Quilt display since the 2012 National Mall display in Washington, D.C.
We can’t help but note that the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was conceived in 1985 by Castro resident Cleve Jones, who’s currently facing displacement from his Castro apartment. (And, Jones has said in interviews, one of the things he has in that apartment is a quilt made by his great-grandmother that was his inspiration for the AIDS Quilt.)
That complication aside, Jones is still marking the anniversary. “Today, the Quilt is just as relevant and even more important, particularly in the wake of Covid-19, and the fact that the struggles we face today that result from health and social inequities are the issues we will face again in the future if we don’t learn from the lessons of the past,” Jones said in a statement.
The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display on June 11 and 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Robin Williams Meadow and the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park.
Image: @Historyatnight via Twitter