Upstate nonprofit and college commemorate World AIDS Day with AIDS Memorial Quilt

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – To commemorate World AIDS Day 2019 and Piedmont Care Inc‘s 25 years of service to the Upstate, Piedmont Care partnered with Spartanburg Methodist College to host The AIDS Memorial Quilt, speakers and local artwork.

Two quilt sponsors, Barbara Colvin and Angela Viney, said the 12-by-12-foot panel isn’t just a pretty piece of fabric, it means something.

“These are real people. It isn’t just art. These are real people,” Colvin said, ” every piece in the quilt is a piece of somebody’s life and it’s very important that people know that this is very real and it’s still very much here.”

George Lanthier meeting Pope John Paul II

Colvin’s brother, George Lanthier, was diagnosed with HIV in 1987. She said Lanthier, a Reading Clerk for South Carolina State, was and still is supported by those who knew him.

That was rare, Colvin and Viney noted.

Viney’s brother, George Cameon, was treated kindly by his work colleagues; but, not the hospital he was admitted to when he fell ill, she said.

George Cameon

“It’s a terrible disease. But it doesn’t affect just  the patient, the families, the care givers, their employers, employees,” Viney said.

Viney said she and her sister threaten to go public about his poor treatment before Cameon was given proper medical care.

Since both brothers died of AIDS in the early 1990s, both women said this exhibition is part of their continued fight for awareness, education, and help against AIDS and HIV.

“[AIDS and HIV are] under the radar. It’s not in the fore front anymore. But people need to know because it is still a very real disease,” Colvin said.

Several events will be held on Spartanburg Methodist’s campus and at Piedmont Care during the two weeks that the AIDS Memorial Quilt is on display.

The quilt will be on display from November 18 until December 1st at Spartanburg Methodist’s Ellis Hall Gallery:

  • Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday – Sunday Noon until 6:00 p.m.
  • CLOSED November 28 and 29

Art show Opening Reception will be on November 19 at Spartanburg Methodist’s Ellis Hall Gallery at 7:00 p.m.

Speaker Jeanne White Ginder will be at Spartanburg Methodist’s Gibbs Auditorium on November 22 at 11:00 a.m.

Extended HIV Testing Hours at Piedmont Care on November 25 from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Remembrance and Folding Service on December 1 at Spartanburg Methodist’s Davis Mission Chapel at 6:00 p.m.

Spartanburg Methodist Professor of Art & Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, Kris Neely worked with Piedmont Care 15 years ago, for its 10 year anniversary, making a book about living with or loving someone who had HIV/AIDS.

Now Piedmont is celebrating 25 years, Neely said the stigma around HIV/AIDS has softened but it’s still there.

“Twenty-five years ago this would have been highly controversial that we’re even focusing on this, talking about it. So, in some ways it feels easy to be doing the show now,” Neely said.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is more than 48,000 3-by-6 foot panels, and weighed in more than 54 tons at last check.

The nonprofit’s Executive Director, Tracey Jackson, said she wanted South Carolinans to see the Piedmont Care Inc panel to show the support they give and have fighting this issue.

(L-R) Tracey Jackson, Barbara Colvin, Angela Viney, and Kris Neely.

“This is larger than life,” Jackson said,”we’re no longer talking about people dying with AIDS, we’re talking about living with HIV. So, there’s so much good news. But the stigma, the taboo the misunderstanding and misinformation is still out there and its one of our priorities at Piedmont Care to fight that.”

For more information about Piedmont Care’s events at Spartanburg Methodist College, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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