Reflecting on the Art for AIDS Workshop Process

Almost a decade ago, when Art for AIDS International's primary concern was encouraging professional artists to respond to the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, an opportunity came forward to host a workshop with students from the London District Catholic School Board.  While this was not our primary focus, we leaped at the opportunity to engage young people through art and teach them a bit more about issues related to HIV/AIDS and social justice generally.  Little did we know, however, that not only would the students respond with incredible passion and enthusiasm during these first few workshops, but, that they would also produce incredible and engaging works of art during them as well.  It was for this reason that we immediately shifted the focus of our project away from our International Portfolio toward helping young people get creative in understanding and addressing HIV/AIDS in their own community and abroad.  Since these first workshops, we have been privileged to host nearly 200 workshops with over 10,000 students from across Canada, South Africa, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Uganda, and the United States.

With upcoming workshops scheduled in Durban, Vancouver, Toronto, and London, as well as upcoming exhibitions and fundraisers in Spain, South Africa, and multiple Canadian shows, we felt it necessary not only to share our impression of the workshops with you, but also the impressions of those that ultimately matter most: the participating students.

Below you will find four statements written by past participants, all of whom have moved on and become active members of their community. Please enjoy and, whether or not you have been to a show, or attended a workshop, we  encourage your comments below!Read more