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MSU Marks World AIDS Day

E. LANSING, MICHIGAN.-The Kresge Art Museum, MSU Museum, and Olin Health Center have joined forces to promote World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1, organized by the Lansing Area AIDS Network as part of a community-wide, one-day observance to remind our community and the world that the AIDS pandemic is not over.

To commemorate World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1, the Kresge Art Museum and MSU Museum will each host a separate portion of the “NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt” in conjunction with the Lansing Area AIDS Network (LAAN). World AIDS Day has become nationally recognized as a Day With(out) Art, the collaborative effort of cultural and educational organizations across the world to commemorate World AIDS Day as a day of action and mourning in response to the global AIDS crisis. Over the years, the focus has changed from a day when museums and galleries closed, to a day to recognize and promote increased programming of cultural events that draw attention to the continuing pandemic.

Many cultures around the world have traditions of fabric arts. The “NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt” is based upon the American tradition of quilting. Neighbors and relatives would gather in groups to sew old scraps of fabric into beautiful works of art, which also provided warmth and comfort. Today, as people gather together to make panels for the memorial quilt, this tradition gives comfort in a time of grief. In partnership with LAAN, Kresge Art Museum and MSU Museum will each display a different 12x12 foot panel from the AIDS quilt on December 1.

Other events will also take place at the Olin Health Center, across campus, and at the Hannah Community Center, including a march against AIDS-related stigma, red ribbon distribution, proclamation readings, a free screening of “A Closer Walk,” and more. Please see the attached programming schedule for a listing of planned events.

The Olin Health Center Health Education Department is committed to bringing awareness of HIV/AIDS as well as remembering those that are living with and have passed from this illness. The Center will offer free and anonymous walk-in HIV testing on December 1, from 10am-4p. To commemorate World AIDS Day and recognize those that have passed, they will tie red ribbons to 500 campus trees. Each ribbon represents 1,000 AIDS-related deaths. Red Ribbon Pins will also be available at all Campus Cafeterias – pick one up and wear it “until there’s a cure.” A sexual health information table staffed by Olin Sexual Health Advocates will be set up at The International Center from 12pm-3pm. And a benefit concert for Lansing Area AIDS Network will be held at 8 p.m. in the Union Ballroom. Tickets are $3 per person at the door. All events are also in coordination with LAAN events.

MSU Museum will also display a selection of work by traditional artists who have participated in AIDS education and economic development projects in South Africa. Included will be items that will be featured in the forthcoming "Siyazama: Traditional Arts, AIDS, and Education in South Africa," an exhibition that will open at the MSU Museum on February 5, 2006. [See: ] In addition, MSU staff will also be participating in the World AIDS Day Observance program coordinated by the Lansing Area AIDS Network held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. The MSU Museum will host a small display of South African traditional arts made as part of the "Siyazama" project based in Durban, South Africa.

As the eyes of the world turn to Africa in the face of the AIDS crisis, Kresge Art Museum draws focus to its present display, African Art, Western Eyes, an exhibit of African objects revealing the constantly changing meaning of objects as they travel from one culture to another. In Africa, artworks collected for Western art museums originally functioned in social, political, or religious contexts. Most were not intended for quiet aesthetic scrutiny typical of a museum experience, rather they were made important through human agency. Today certain African artistic forms have come to symbolize and inspire African-American pride. African imagery is at the forefront of popular celebrations of multiculturalism, serving global, commercial, and local educational strategies. While the meaning of African art changes depending on its context, it continues to serve as a catalyst that inspires individuals in Africa, America and beyond to explore the vitality and diversity of African cultures. [See:]

The Kresge Art Museum is located on the MSU campus, on Auditorium Road just west of the Alumni Chapel, on the first floor of the Kresge Art Center. MSU Museum is located on W. Circle Drive next to the Beaumont Tower. Admission to the Kresge Art Museum and MSU Museum is free. The museums are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Hours of operation on Thursday, December 1: Kresge Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; MSU Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Olin Health Center, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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