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Events planned to mark AIDS Awareness Week

by Beth Krane - November 28, 2005

The University community will mark this year’s World AIDS Day on Thursday, Dec. 1, with a full week of awareness activities organized by the broadest range of campus sponsors to date.

World AIDS Awareness Week will begin Monday, Nov. 28, with a 7 p.m. closing event for two art exhibits that have been displayed in the Wilbur Cross Gallery throughout November.

The exhibits include photos that British war photojournalist Don McCullin took for Christian Aid, documenting the lives of people with HIV and AIDS in Africa before and after the introduction of antiretroviral therapy. The exhibit in the Wilbur Cross Gallery includes his photos displayed on a television screen in a continuous loop, alongside another TV showing a documentary about McCullin’s photo projects, called Cold Heaven and Life Interrupted.

The other exhibit, A View from the Inside, includes a dozen “talking murals” made by inmates at the Osborne Correctional Facility in Somers, Conn., illustrating the effects HIV and AIDS has had on their lives or the lives of family and friends with the disease.

In addition to these exhibits, a 12-foot by 12-foot section of the national AIDS quilt will be on display in the entrance of the Student Union all week.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, there will be a screening of the documentary State of Denial, which shows the obstacles to HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment in South Africa. The screening begins at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre. State of Denial will be introduced by film director Elaine Epstein, who also will answer questions about the film after the screening.

Seth Kalichman, a professor of social psychology and a principal investigator at the University’s Center for Health/HIV Intervention and Prevention, also will answer questions based on his work developing culturally appropriate HIV and AIDS prevention programs in South Africa.

The week of activities will conclude on Thursday, Dec. 1, with “A Day without Art” at the William Benton Museum of Art and an evening candlelight vigil procession.

The vigil starts at 6:45 p.m. in the Student Union lobby and ends at the Benton Museum at 7 p.m.

During the Benton Museum’s “A Day without Art,” a selection of paintings in the four gallery spaces will be covered with black shrouds to honor artists lost to AIDS.

The shrouds will be removed at 7 p.m. when the candlelight vigil procession arrives at the museum.

Museum director Sal Scalora will then give a brief talk about the significance of “A Day without Art,” followed by a 25-minute concert by the Voices of Freedom gospel choir.

Sponsors for the awareness week include the Center for Health/HIV Intervention and Prevention, the Hillel Foundation, the William Benton Museum of Art, the health education unit of Student Health Services, the Human Rights Institute, the UNESCO Chair& Institute for Comparative Human Rights, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars-UConn Chapter, the Design Center, and the five cultural centers on campus.

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