The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center (WAM) announced that on March 8 they will be opening the doors of their new exhibit; AIDS Crisis in America: 30 Years of ACT UP - A Convergence of Disease, Art and Human Resilience.
In addition, WAM announced Academy Award-winning performer Larry Kramer will be on hand to help the center celebrate. The exhibit, set to run into mid-April, will feature artwork, film, and photography that helps detail the 30-year history of ACT UP, the primary organization behind political and social responses to the AIDS pandemic.
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Kramer is scheduled to attend two of the three events taking place on March 9 and 10; a book signing on the 9 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. that will kick off the three-day event, and An Evening With Larry Kramer, an interview with Kramer that will take place March 10 at 8 p.m. at the Sunshine Cathedral.
Throughout the three-day event Kramer will speak to the history of the HIV/AIDS crisis and corresponding evolution of the LGBT movement, and detail how it’s impacted the LGBT community over the last 35 years.
Kramer co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982, an organization that has become the world's largest private group assisting people living with AIDS. While Kramer is known for being outspoken, and at times controversial, his work educating the LGBT community on the AIDS epidemic is widely respected.
Kramer’s work with ACT UP, a group he co-founded in 1987, is widely considered one of the reasons public health policy and the perception of people living with AIDS changed over the years as people began to remove the stigma behind the disease.
Kramer also wrote the critically acclaimed play, “The Normal Heart,” a look at the AIDS crisis in its early years. The play went on to become a Broadway show and was recently adapted as an HBO film in 2014.
According to WAM CEO Hugh Beswick, securing Kramer for the new AIDS exhibit launch was extremely important to the museum.
“Larry Kramer is brilliant, controversial and often difficult. Every person we contacted about this exhibit advised us that the story of AIDS cannot be told without Larry Kramer -- like him or not, he was behind the key events which led to where we are today,” Beswick told SFGN. “He also addresses more fully than others the role of stigma in hindering the resolution of this pandemic. WAM was founded by Steve Stagon on the premise that the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS is almost worse than the disease itself.”
Beswick says the museum created the new exhibit to educate people, and Kramer is uniquely qualified to help them do just that.
“This new exhibit means that WAM is broadening its impact and attracting the attention of national and global organizations. Beswick told SFGN. “It also details individuals who are keys to the past, present, and future of HIV/AIDS. Larry Kramer has been at the heart of the AIDS story.”