Day Without Art began on December 1st 1989 as the national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis.
To make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone, and inspire positive action, some 800 U.S. art 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 With(out) Art has grown into a collaborative project in which an estimated 8,000 national and international museums, galleries, art centers, AIDS Service Organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges take part.
In the past, Visual AIDS initiated public actions and programs, published an annual poster and copyright-free broadsides, and acted as press coordinator and clearing house for projects for Day Without Art / World AIDS Day. In 1997 we suggested Day Without Art become a Day WITH Art, to recognize and promote increased programming of cultural events that draw attention to the continuing pandemic. Though "the name was retained as a metaphor for the chilling possibility of a future day without art or artists", we added parentheses to the program title, Day With(out) Art, to highlight the proactive programming of art projects by artists living with HIV/AIDS, and art about AIDS, that were taking place around the world. It had become clear that active interventions within the annual program were far more effective than actions to negate or reduce the programs of cultural centers.
Suggestions: Day With(out) Art/AIDS Awareness
If a screening does not work for you, maybe try some of these Day With(out) Art Programming Idea:
Exhibitions -- Organize an exhibition of artwork by an artist(s) living with HIV/AIDS or artwork related to the AIDS pandemic. Exhibitions can be an open call for artwork or curated with a specific theme in mind. Consider where the artwork will be shown and how it will be exhibited. If budget and security of the artwork is an issue, consider exhibiting smaller works, work on paper, posters, mail art, etc. Many AIDS service organizations have artist workshops. Invite participants to be involved.
Artist's Talk -- Invite an artist living with HIV/AIDS to speak at your school, gallery, or art center. Artist can speak about his/her artwork and present slides or a workshop. Visit the Artists Web Sites on the Visual AIDS Membership page for examples of artwork. If you are interested in an artist talk, please feel free to contact Visual AIDS for suggestions on artists in your area or contact a local AIDS service organization.
Artist Workshop -- Invite an artist living with HIV/AIDS to give a workshop or lead a collaboration with a local AIDS service organization.
Art Auction -- Have an art auction of local artists and donate the funds to an AIDS service organization.
Classroom Curriculum -- Discuss the work and lives of artists, writers, musicians, performers, and activists who have died of AIDS or deals with issues of HIV/AIDS. Create assignments or projects that encourage researching individuals along with current demographic information about HIV/AIDS.
Posters -- Design a poster, banner, or broadside for display and distribution. Posters can be created by individual artists or by groups in a classroom or workshop. Large posters can be displayed outdoors, in public place, or in galleries, hallways, AIDS service organizations, schools, etc. Smaller posters can be photocopied and distributed widely. Posters can be designed as a graphic design project or artist workshop. For examples, visit:www.avert.org/postershist.htm,www.sfaf.org/prevention/gallery/gallery_no_frames.html, www.agitart.org/
T-shirts -- Design t-shirts or other clothing that shares a message, statistic, image or name related to the AIDS pandemic.
Condoms -- Have students or workshops decorate condom packages with paint, glitter, stickers, etc -- as a way to discuss safer sex practices. Attach pins to the back of the condom wear. Distribute free condoms.www.thecondomproject.org
Diary -- Share a "Day in the Life" by writing a journal entry that relates personal experiences relating to AIDS. You might write it with specific time entries, as prose, with visual notes, or however you would like to share your personal experience. Entries can be short or long. The entries can then be shared with others via readings, postings, classrooms, publications and the web. Online examples: www.a-virtual-memorial.org,http://cvisions.cat.nyu.edu/dwa/info.html
Action -- Plan an action/observance in your workplace, classroom, or neighborhood specific to your community i.e.: distribute Red Ribbons and HIV/AIDS information; Organize a clothing or food drive for your local AIDS service organization; Start a fundraiser (bake sale, art auction, AIDS Walk); organize a rally, candlelight vigil or moment of silence; Pin red ribbons to trees or public spaces; Create a names memorial wall; Contact your local politician and let them know you support more AIDS related funding and services; Set up a special display of books and resource materials about HIV/AIDS at your local library; Encourage HIV testing; Distribute free condoms; Volunteer at or make a donation to an AIDS program