Stitching Communities & the AIDS Memorial Quilt

Dec. 1, 2022-Feb. 17, 2023

Thacher Gallery

The AIDS Memorial Quilt stands as an enduring monument to love, loss, and the power of art to bring communities together. Started in a storefront on Market Street in San Francisco’s Castro District in 1985, the Quilt is now celebrated as the largest community arts project in the world: a poignant and visually arresting memorial to those who have died—and are still dying—of AIDS around the globe.

Stitching Communities and the AIDS Memorial Quilt features five blocks of the Quilt, as well as related archival objects from the collection of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco. Together, they showcase the early history of the AIDS epidemic, and the continued power of the Quilt to memorialize, celebrate, and unify. By examining themes of togetherness and intimacy, the queer tradition of craft, communal empathy and action, and sense of place, the exhibition highlights how art and memory-making through craft can serve as a powerful form of creative individual and collective resilience during times of loss and social marginalization. 

Presented by USF’s MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practicum class led by Professor Kate Lusheck.

Learn more about the AIDS Memorial Quilt

  • National AIDS Memorial Quilt Blocks

    On loan from the National AIDS Memorial

    Anonymous, Vincent Abeyta, C.D. Arnold, Brian Chevez, Aaron John Miller, Mark Senjamin, Larkin Wayo
    Block #0232, 1987
    The AIDS Memorial Quilt
    Textiles with mixed media
    June Balestena, Adina Batnitzky, Maybeth Garcia, Bryant Hoven,
    Cathy Leota, Lucy Robles, Thomas Simmonds, Nancy Sosa, Naomi Zuk
    Block #3708, 1995
    The AIDS Memorial Quilt
    Textiles with mixed media
    Kitty Catalyst O.C.P.
    Block #4664, 1996
    The AIDS Memorial Quilt
    Textiles with mixed media
    Sandra L. Burnette, John Deshane, Ned Gorman, Joy Running,
    Paquita Rupp, Jackie Sanders, Raymond Tessier, Richard Theilig
    Block #4750, 1996–1997
    The AIDS Memorial Quilt
    Textiles with mixed media 
    Roxanne Armijo, Harriett Burns, Margo Colasanti, Tiffany Dyckman,
    Ike Gonzales, Dolores A. Hengelsberg, Gert McMullin, Letty Medina
    Block #5369, 1999
    The AIDS Memorial Quilt
    Textiles with mixed media

    Archival objects from the collection of the GLBT Historical Society

    Brett Averill, “Castro Held Hostage,” and Alan White, “Bush Snubs AIDS Quilt”
    Bay Area Reporter, October 12, 1989
    Timothy Rodrigues, “No Obits” 
    Bay Area Reporter, August 13, 1998
    Staff Reporter, “Deaths”
    Bay Area Reporter, October 3, 1985 
    Staff Reporter, “Multimedia AIDS Quilt Exhibit To Begin Tour of U.S.”
    Bay Area Reporter, September 14, 1989
    Crawford Wayne Barton
    Two Scenes from a Candlelight March in San Francisco, 1980
    Color photography
    Crawford Wayne Barton
    Scenes from the Castro Street Fair, 1978-79
    Black and white photography
    Crawford Wayne Barton
    Castro Street Fair (“Leathermen”), 1990
    Color photography
    Michael “Red” Bentzinger
    “Mr. Red” S.F. Leather Vest with Teddy Bear, c. 1980s
    Leather and assorted materials
    Steve Black
    Untitled (Three Three Dollar Bills, with Divine), c. 1990
    Screen print on canvas 
    Zane Blaney
    Gay Games Opening Ceremony and Marathon, San Francisco, 1982
    (video, 18:33, sound)
    Jean-Baptiste Carhaix
    The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Pose in a Tree, 1993
    A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence as the Sphinx, 1993
    A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence in Diving Gear, 1984
    A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence with Musical Note Graffito, 1983
    Black and white and color photography
    Queer Army of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Inc. 
    USF Condom Day, 1992
    Ink on paper
    Charles Cyberski
    1996 NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt display on the National Mall, 1997
    (video, 22:19, sound) 
    Keith Haring
    Ignorance=Fear, Silence=Death, Fight AIDS, ACT UP, 1989
    Color lithograph
    Henri Leleu
    San Francisco Gay Bars, c. 1970s
    Color photographs (later collaged in lightbox form by Ramón Silvestre, GLBT Historical Society and Jeff Raby, Creatis Group)
    James McNamara
    Raising the First Rainbow Flag
    United Nations Plaza, San Francisco, 1978
    Color photograph (reproduced on canvas)
    Harold T. O’Neal
    Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco, 1977 and 1978
    (video, 21:57, no sound)
    Beowulf Thorne (Jack Henry Foster)
    Portrait of Tom Shearer, 1993
    Black and white photography
    Beowulf Thorne (Jack Henry Foster)
    Teddy Bear Lit on Fire, 1991
    Color photography
    Sheila Tully
    Scrapbook (ARC/AIDS Vigil; Four Moral Appeals), c. 1989
    Black and white photography
    Keith Woods
    Letter from Keith Woods to Diseased Pariah News, September 8, 1997
    Pencil on paper
    Letter to Andrew Lewellan (Shanti Project volunteer coordinator) 
    about Bob Fitzgerald (volunteer),
    May 1986
    Ink on paper
    Letter from Eddie Blandini to Andrew Lewallen, 
    dedicated to Justin Breaux (counselor),
    June 1986
    Ink on paper
    Justin Breaux
    Farewell Letter, late 1980s
    Ink on paper
    Unknown Author
    “I am HIV Positive;” Letter to Diseased Pariah News, December 2, 1997
    Pencil on paper
    Leatherman Hook Rug, n.d. 
    Latch hook rug
    Unknown artist
    Political Funeral for Joan Baker, October 23, 1993
    Color photography
    The San Francisco FrontRunners
    Collage poster, c. 1980s

Stitching Communities & the AIDS Memorial Quilt Exhibition Views

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