By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
In honor of World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1, the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund (OACF) will host an art exhibition on that date to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.
The event will take place from 4-6 p.m. at 1219 Creative located at 1219 N. Classen Blvd in Oklahoma City. The event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by 1219 Creative and Waters Edge Winery, the event will feature artists Graham Edwards, Sean Giboney, Kyle Golding, Skip Hill, Jon Martinez, Kenny McCage, Ric Miller, Lawrence Naff, Kelly Newcomb, Armondo Ortiz, Saumo Paupauga, Ronna Purnell, Stephen Teafatiller and Suzanne Thomas.
The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund is a fundraising and advocacy organization dedicated to providing financial support and resources to HIV/AIDS service providers in Oklahoma.
“Our goal is to prompt conversations and share visual stories about individuals living with or the prevention of HIV/AIDS, said Cher Golding, Executive Director. “The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund and 1219 Creative will not be taking a commission from any art sales. Instead we are encouraging the participating artists to make a donation to OACF.
“We will have a wide variety of art at the show,” Golding added. “Some of the artists are just establishing themselves while others are prominent Oklahoma artists.”
World AIDS Day was created as the first global health day on December 1, 1988 at the height of the AIDS crisis. It is an opportunity for people to honor those who have passed away from the disease, show support for those living with the disease, and to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS and its stigma.
“This is the first year that the HIV/AIDS Community Based Organizations in Oklahoma are coming together to collectively remind the public and our elected officials that HIV has not gone away,” Golding said.
Funding is still needed to reduce new infections, stigma, and health disparities and to increase access to care and collaboration of services in Oklahoma, Golding says.
“In 1991 a group of artists in New York gathered in a gallery space to discuss the creation of a symbolic piece to get people talking about HIV, said Golding. “They came up with the simple idea and now most recognized symbol – the red ribbon. Red was chosen as it is bold and visible – symbolizing passion, heart and love.
“We wanted to create a conversation about HIV/AIDS and pay homage to these original artists,” Golding added. “We came up with the idea to host an art exhibition featuring art work focusing on the color red or featuring HIV/AIDS themes.”
Red ribbons will be available at the art show for guests to wear in support of the cause.
Urban Teahouse, 519 NW 23rd Street, will be featuring a special tea in support of the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund and will have ribbons available all day.
As part of World AIDS Day in Oklahoma, OACF is encouraging all Oklahomans to take part in the conversation and show their support. Event organizers are asking people to take a selfie or group photo wearing red support ribbons and post it on the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media outlets using the hashtag #WorldAIDSDayOKC.
Several other businesses and community leaders will be participating in Oklahoma City’s World AIDS Day event including the Tower Theatre, which will feature a World AIDS Day message of support on their building marquee; Downtown Inc. will place red ribbons on trees throughout Downtown Oklahoma City; the Crystal Bridge at the Myriad Gardens and the SkyDance Bridge will be lit red; the SPY FM will feature PSA’s leading up to World AIDS Day and will also be DJing at the art show; and Governor Mary Fallin is presenting the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund with a Proclamation.
Expressions Community Center will host their annual World AIDS Day Service at 6 p.m. at Expressions Community Center, 2245 NW 39th Street. In addition, AIDS Walk will host a Seasons of Hope celebration for World AIDS Day at the Paramount on Film Row, 7 N. Lee Avenue.
Since its inception in 1991, the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund has awarded more than $12 million in their commitment to reduce new infections, stigma, and health disparities while increasing access to care and collaboration of services.
The 2017 Red Tie Night Gala benefitting the OK AIDS Care Fund will be held on Saturday, March 4 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Molly Ross and Sean Olmstead are co-chairing the event. The honoree for the 25th anniversary is Barbara Cooper.
Red Tie Night starts at 6:30 p.m. with a silent auction and cocktails, followed by dinner at 8 p.m., a live auction at 9 p.m. and dancing from 10 p.m. – midnight. Complimentary valet parking will be available. Attire is formal red/black tie.
To learn more about the World AIDS Day art show or to support the organization’s annual fundraising gala, Red Tie Night, visit www.okaidscarefund.com.