Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer
Portions of the AIDS Memorial Quilt are on display this week at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.
The display features four 12-foot-by-12-foot panels of the quilt that were brought to town by the church in partnership with NWA Equality to commemorate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.
The quilt project was conceived in 1985 and was first displayed in 1987 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. At the time, it covered a space larger than a football field and included over 1,900 panels.
It has since grown to be the largest piece of folk art in the world. The now 54-ton tapestry includes 50,000 panels honoring 105,000 people who lost their lives to the virus. The ever-evolving project aims to inspire activism and education.
The panels on display in Fayetteville feature 42 known Arkansans who are memorialized by the project, including Don McEnany, a landscape architect and gardener from Fayetteville who designed the city’s downtown square gardens, and John Anthony Guerrero, a fashion and evening gown designer from Fort Smith.
The four panels are hanging on the walls of the St. Paul’s chapel and are available for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday, Dec. 3. The church is located at 224 N. East Ave. in downtown Fayetteville.