BENEFITING: Love Heals Inc
EVENT DATE: Oct 31, 2015
On Saturday, October 31, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education (www.loveheals.org), in partnership with the New York City Health Department, and in collaboration with art curators Jeff Beler and Frankie Velez, acclaimed photographer James Weber, and 16 renowned street artists will dedicate the “What’s Your Sign? Mural Project” to raise public awareness about the HIV/AIDS crisis impacting New York City youth, especially Black and Latino youth who continue to have alarmingly high rates of new HIV infections and new AIDS diagnoses, citywide. The zodiac-themed art exhibit is available for public viewing through mid-November at the corner of St. Johns Place and Underhill Avenue in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, NY.
The mural is a tribute to the life and work of the late AIDS Activist Alison Gertz whose AIDS-related death in 1992 at age 26 led to the founding of the organization. Proceeds from the sales of the 13 individual 8’ x 8’ art panels will benefit Love Heals, a not-for-profit organization working to empower youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS through prevention education and leadership development training.
Why now? Despite remarkable progress in HIV prevention and care, New York City’s Black and Latino populations continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the city’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Together, Blacks and Latinos account for approximately 53% of the city’s total population; however, they account for 76% of new HIV diagnoses, 83% of new AIDS diagnoses, 77% of persons living with HIV/AIDS, and 83% of HIV-related deaths, as of December 31, 2013, according to the New York City Health Department. The New York State Department of Health released data indicating that in 2013, Blacks and Latinos comprised 85% of new HIV diagnoses among 12 – 24 year olds and 91% of new AIDS diagnoses in New York City, data which highlight the extent of the devastating HIV/AIDS crisis affecting communities of color. This is why your funding support is sorely-needed!
The “What’s Your Sign? Mural Project” is the brainchild of art curators Jeff Beler and Frankie Velez. Mr. Beler, a resident of Prospect Heights, has been living with HIV for 30 years. He is a graduate of the Alpha Workshops Studio School founded in 1995 to provide industry-specific training and employment in the decorative arts to men and women living with HIV. He has over 25 years of experience as an interior designer, prop stylist and photographer of graffiti. Mr. Velez is a prominent independent art curator who divides his professional time between New York and Miami. His diverse roster includes artists who are established, mid-career, and emerging. The talented and dedicated street artists lending their talent to the project include Jeff Henriquez, UR New York (Ski and 2ESAE), Misfit and Stray (Justin Winslow and Carmelo Ferro), Fumero, Sienide, Raquel Echanique, Jill Folino, Albertus Joseph, Miss Zukie, Rob Plater, Zimad, Badder Israel, Col Wallnuts, and Danielle Mastrion.
Funds collected through CrowdRise will help to defray the costs of the wood art panels (30 8’ x 4’ individual panels – each panel, once joined, will measure 8’ x 8’), the exhibit frame to support the artwork, paint supplies (sealers, primer, spray paint, rollers, drop cloths, mounting hardware), contractor (prepping, installation, dismantling, transportation, and storage) promotional photograph, printed and other promotional materials. Furthermore, your support will allow Love Heals to empower thousands of youth, parents and their allies to become effective advocates for policies and resources in support of HIV prevention in their communities and citywide!
So, who is Love Heals, you ask? Founded in 1992 and headquartered in New York City, Love Heals’ mission is to “Eliminate new infections through education in communities vulnerable to HIV transmission.” Over the course of Love Heals’ rich 23-year history, over 650,000 youth residing in hard-hit communities across the New York City metropolitan area have been reached through the organization’s after-school HIV prevention education and leadership development training. Similar training is also offered to parents, guardians, community groups and other youth allies. Recently, the organization was cited as an official not-for-profit vendor of the NYC Department of Education, which allows Love Heals to identify additional public, private and charter schools in which to replicate its youth empowerment training and HIV prevention presentations. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! For further information, please visit our Web site at www.loveheals.org.