Remembrance

William Way LGBT Community Center

2019
$274,609

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Pride and Progress mural, William Way LGBT Community Center. Photo courtesy of William Way LGBT Community Center.

The William Way LGBT Community Center (WWCC) will partner with artists and community leaders to create newly commissioned artworks and collect oral histories that memorialize Philadelphians who died during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The project was inspired by the stories of a South Philadelphia funeral home and its director, one of the few sites that would provide respectful services for those lost to the disease at the time. Obie Award-winning playwright and director Ain Gordon will write and direct an original play, rooted in archival research, one-on-one interviews, and the stories that emerge from a listening tour with those affected by HIV/AIDS. Waheedah Shabazz-El, a community organizer and HIV counselor, will facilitate the listening tour. A group of multidisciplinary artists, led by artist and curator Alexander Stadler, will be commissioned to create works that emerge from funeral traditions, including a requiem and funeral urns. A "going home" ceremony will finally inter previously abandoned ashes of the deceased, and WWCC’s website will connect its existing AIDS oral histories with the newly collected stories and artwork created for the project.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.