Wilkes University


Join the Sordoni Art Gallery for a Lecture on LGBTQ+ Arts Activism and the AIDS Memorial Quilt

Please join us at the Sordoni Art Gallery at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10, as we discuss LGBTQ+ Arts and Activism. Wilkes University Professor Helen H. Davis will begin the lecture by highlighting some of the ways that LGBTQ+ activists have used art for advocacy and visibility. She will then explain the origination and continuing history of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and introduce local quilt contributor Paul Baloga, RN, who will discuss his quilt square, which will be on display during the event and will remain on display through the remainder of the exhibition. Davis will end the lecture by leading a short tour through the gallery, highlighting artworks by LGBTQ+ arts activists featured in the current exhibit. Lecture and tour will begin at 5 p.m.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt began in San Francisco in 1987 as a way to memorialize those who had died of AIDS. Since then, this national project has become the largest community art project in the world. The Quilt currently includes more than 49,000 panels and includes the names of almost 100,000 individuals who have died of AIDS. In 1989 the project was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. The Quilt continues to grow.

Please visit the AIDS Memorial Quilt website for additional information and extended history about the quilt.

More About Paul Baloga
Paul Baloga is a registered nurse currently employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as an HIV/STD Prevention Nurse Consultant for the Northeast District Office covering a ten-county area. Baloga worked as a registered nurse for the PA Department of Corrections for four and a half years, where his involvement in the Infectious Disease Program for inmates spurred an interest in working exclusively with HIV infected and AIDS diagnosed patients. Since 2004, Baloga has worked in his current position with the PA Department of Health as an HIV Prevention Nurse Consultant. 

During that tenure, members of the Northeast Regional HIV Coalition decided to make a quilt to memorialize local individuals who lost their battle to HIV/AIDS.  A group of some twelve volunteers worked with Baloga, who spear-headed the project and ultimately sewed the quilt which you will see displayed. 

More About Professor Helen H. Davis
Helen H. Davis is an Associate Professor of English at Wilkes University. Her research focuses on queer and feminist narrative theory, gender studies and nineteenth-century literature. She is co-chair of the Wilkes University Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, co-founded and co-facilitates the Wilkes LGBTQ Awareness and Safe Space Ally program, and is the faculty advisor for the Wilkes Gender and Sexuality Alliance. She is vice chair of the board of the NEPA Rainbow Alliance, a community nonprofit organization that provides education, support, and advocacy for LGBTQA individuals and families in northeastern Pennsylvania while working to advance fairness and equality.

More About the Current Exhibition
Loud Silence: Expressions of Activism explores artists who use the human figure or body as a means for activism. The works featured demonstrate the unique perils of living while a woman, while a person of color, while indigenous, while LGBTQ+ and while an immigrant. The exhibit features 40 artists including Judy Chicago, Faith Ringgold, Ana Mendieta, Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer.

For more information, contact assistant director Nikki Lewis at Nicole.lewis1@wilkes.edu