Day Without Art

An International Day Of Action And Mourning In Response To The AIDS Crisis

DAY WITHOUT ART (DWA) is an annual health holiday on December 1st that acknowledges and mourns the passing of those infected with AIDS, raise awareness of AIDS, and take action against AIDS – a disease that has killed thousands of people since the pandemic started in the 1980s.

Day Without Art

Coinciding with the World AIDS Day, Day Without Art is a day where artists, museums, galleries, and art groups come together and emphasize the effect of HIV/AIDS, make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone, and to “celebrate the lives and accomplishments of colleagues and friends who bite the dust due to AIDS”, and inspire positive actions.

Day Without Art

A day when art communities come together to mourn the passing of those infected with AIDS, raise awareness of AIDS, and take action against AIDS.
When Celebrated:December 1
Upcoming Date: December 1
Holiday Type:
Related Holidays:
Where Celebrated:Worldwide
Founded By:Visual AIDS
Also Called:
Day With(out) Art

Who Created Day Without Art Holiday

Day Without Art was created by Visual AIDS – an organization of artwork professionals founded by Thomas Sokolowski (arts administrator), Robert Atkins (art critic), and curators Gary Garrels and William Olander – on December 1st, 1989 as a nationwide day of action and mourning in response to the worsening AIDS crisis.

This committee of art workers sent out a call for “mourning and action in response to the worsening AIDS crisis of 1980s” that would commemorate the lives and accomplishments of lost colleagues and friends; encourage caring for all people with AIDS; raising awareness about AIDS; educating public about HIV infection; and finding a cure.

That very first year roughly 800 U.S. artwork and AIDS groups participated in the observance of this day by shutting down museums, sending employees to volunteer AIDS services, deploying special displays of work about AIDS, hiding artworks and substituting them with information about HIV and safer sex, and holding exhibitions, programs, readings, memorials, and performances.

In 1998, “Day Without Art” became “Day With(out) Art”. Visual AIDS added the parentheses to emphasize the continuing inclusion of artwork projects focused on the AIDS pandemic, and also to promote programming of artists living with HIV.

*Do you know? Today, Day Without Art has grown into a huge project in which an estimated 10,000 national and international museums, art galleries, AIDS service organizations, colleges, and universities take part.

Day Without Art Theme & Objectives

The theme and objectives of this health/awareness holiday are:

  • to inspire positive action
  • mourning those who died because of AIDS
  • provide education and awareness concerning the prevention of AIDS
  • caring for people who suffer from AIDS
  • celebrate the lives and accomplishments of people who were lost to AIDS

When Day Without Art Celebrated?

Day Without Art is always celebrated on December 1st. The upcoming Day Without Art will be observed on Wednesday, December 1, – marking the 30th Anniversary – since its inception in 1989.

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How To Celebrate Day Without Art?

It’s a day where museums, artists, and art galleries come together and emphasize the effect of HIV/AIDS and pay tribute to those who have died of AIDS. Examples of observance include the covering or temporary removal of artworks by artists who lost their lives to the virus, along with exhibits of educational information and performances.

The artworks are covered as a memorial to lives lost to AIDS and to create a visual signal reminding the world just how much artwork and imagination were lost to the world because of the AIDS outbreak.

Visual AIDS works with filmmakers to globally distribute informatory videos to museums, art associations, schools, and AIDS organizations. These educational videos related to AIDS – are screened globally and also available on the web.

Posters are largely utilized to market both the messaging and events of the Day Without Art. You could also find press releases, seminars, and addresses by AIDS associations and artwork communities – all centered on AIDS, its prevention and cure.

For the duration of the day, several health organizations will promote awareness, counteractive action, testing, medications, and research. Candlelight vigils are held to keep the memory of loved ones who lost their lives to AIDS.

Day Without Art Celebration Ideas & Activities

1). Raising Awareness about AIDS and its Prevention. An ideal way to celebrate Day Without Art is to reach out to people – raising awareness about HIV/AIDS infection and how it can be prevented. You could either organize an educational event for the local public or use social media to get your voice heard by people worldwide. An ideal way is to share useful information on social media with hashtag #DayWithoutArt.

2). Paying Tribute To People Who Lost Their Lives To AIDS. Hold a candle vigil in the memory of those who departed from this life due to AIDS. You can also plan a visit to a nearby art gallery which is having some kind of display of the works of artists who suffered from AIDS and pay exclusive attention to their work, their ability, and who they were as human beings.

3). Showing Love and Care To HIV Positive People. Take some time out of your busy schedule and dedicate it to people suffering from AIDS. HIV affected people need support. The majority of them are ashamed of what they have due to the stigma surrounding the disease. However, as a friend, loved one, or simply as a humble human being, it is possible to show your support for them on December 1 Day Without Art.

4). Get Yourself Tested for HIV. Another great thing to do to this afternoon is to get examined on HIV infection. You might not know that God forbid, you may have already gotten the disease and you require treatments immediately. This is particularly important when you don’t practice safe sex. So get tested and also encourage your family and friends to have themselves tested for HIV.

5). Educate Yourself. If you are among those individuals who do not know much about AIDS and HIV, then why not attend a nearby seminar on AIDS or watch educational documentaries? You can also share the informatory stuff with your friends and family, and educate them about this infection.

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