Over the past two months, Art for AIDS International has spread its message by hosting workshops and events across three continents. During that time, we have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of new students, connect with new partners in both the public and private sectors, and pursue new funding opportunities that will enable us to continue this essential work.  Further, and as a direct result of these initiatives, we have continued to donate funds to organizations working with women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in communities across sub-Saharan Africa.  This was most recently exemplified by a $20,000 contribution to Nkosi’s Haven in Johannesburg South Africa; one of Art for AIDS International’s long time partners.  Further, as a part of the Art for AIDS International scholarship program we have just awarded a post-secondary scholarship to a young woman from Uganda who embodies the passion and creativity needed to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

What has perhaps excited us most, however, is the huge support we’ve received from schools around the world, who have generously invited Art for AIDS International to host workshops with their students.  This year, we have already completed workshops with over 40 schools from across Canada, South Africa, and the Netherlands.  While it would be difficult to share stories from each of our workshops at length, we thought we would highlight one schools initiative from this past week that got everyone at Art for AIDS excited:  the Victoria Park Collegiate Workshop and Exhibit.

Today, Art for AIDS International finalized a wonderful workshop process by opening a large exhibit at Victoria Park Collegiate  in Toronto, featuring a truly amazing portfolio of work made by their students.  This workshop was an incredible example of community engagement and of the benefits of public/private participation.  Thanks to a generous donation made by Blake Jarrett and Company Inc. the students at Victoria Park Collegiate were able to participate in a series of AIDS awareness workshops, produce incredible art, and bring the community together at an exhibition opening.   We would sincerely like to thank Blake Jarrett and Company Inc. for their generous support, Jennifer Burak who has now hosted three Art for AIDS projects at her schools, and all of the teachers and administrators at Victoria Park Collegiate for their passion and interest in our project; most importantly, however, we want to thank each of the students who participated and took the lead in making this project a success. Their incredible artwork raised over $1500.00 this evening and there are already two more exhibits planned for the coming few months!

Keep checking back for more articles about how young people are getting creative in addressing issues related to HIV/AIDS in their own community and abroad through Art for AIDS International.  To read comments by some of our past workshop participants check out our post: Reflecting on the Art for AIDS Workshop Process.