The entire AIDS Memorial Quilt, Washington D.C.,

Folk-art project commemorating people who have died of AIDS-related diseases. The national AIDS quilt comprises thousands of homemade 3-by-6-foot panels (sewn by volunteers into 12-by-12-foot sections) created by the loved ones of the deceased; panel designs range from simple crayon drawings on sheets to those more elaborately festooned with personal items, photographs, and poems.

Conceived by gay activist Cleve Jones (b. 1964) in 1985 and developed by the Names Project in San Francisco, the quilt is intended to be symbolic of healing, comfort, and warmth.

When it was first unveiled in October 1987 on the Capitol Mall in Washington, the quilt included 1,920 panels. The Names Project has since arranged partial displays around the country to raise money for AIDS organizations.

With the exposure came the addition of more panels, which, as of late 1996, numbered over 37,000 (among 343,000 AIDS deaths), covered 16 acres, and weighed a collective 44 tons.

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