What We’re Up To

‘Touched’ – 30th Installation of Days Without Art 2021

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Our work at SPOKE began 30 years ago to create a place where people gather to reflect and remember those lost to the AIDS pandemic. This mission remains just as urgent today as we face multiple pandemics of COVID-19, racism, and addiction, alongside the continuing scourge of HIV/AIDS, particularly among vulnerable populations. Days Without Art will be a series of cultural events and actions connecting World AIDS Day, Dec 1st with National Black HIV Awareness Day, Feb 7th.

This year for our Days Without Art/World AIDS Day installation, we invite people to create a fabric sampler, 16″ x 16″ to remember, reconnect and honor how you have been touched in these concurrent pandemics; someone who has Touched your life physically, spiritually, or emotionally. There are four additional ways to participate, detailed below.  

All of the quilt square submissions will be sewn together in one large quilt, which will be installed on December 1st at the Boston Center for the Arts, along with 30 sections of the historic AIDS/ Names Memorial Quilt.

The installation will serve as an enduring testimony to those we have lost to pandemics and an invitation to see who can be for each other. As we sew the sections together, we imagine the thread as the beauty of the energy that connects us all to our shared humanity.

There are five different thresholds to cross, different ways to embody “Art As Threshold” to participate in this year’s Days Without Art: Touched – In Times of Pandemic. In addition to these thresholds, we are also seeking volunteers from our community to help us put on this event.

1. Create a panel for our Touched installation, which will be installed at the BCA on World AIDS Day, December 1st. Submissions can be independently completed, or you are welcome to attend one of our “quilting bee” workshops. Find out more about creating your own quilt square here, and sign up for a workshop with one of our talented fabric artists here.

Finished samplers can be sent to: SPOKE/MWProductions 840 Summer Street #103 Boston, MA 02127


2. Contribute a live offering performance during  one of our 24-hour vigils on World AIDS Day, December 1st, at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama or on February 7th, National Black HIV Awareness Day at a site to be determined.  Or make a prerecorded offering to mark the hours of 3:00 am and 6:00 pm for the 67 days between Dec 1 and Feb. 7.  Find out more or  sign up here. 

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3. Sponsor a section of the historic Names AIDS Memorial Quilt. 

In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. Help us bring  30 of the original 1,920 panels that represented the names of those lost, which will be proudly displayed alongside a quilt of our own creation.


Please let us know if you would like a specific panel!


4. Bring an offering to leave in the Medicine Wheel altar during the 24-Hour Vigil on December 1st, World AIDS Day. Visitors are welcome to place an honorary object in the wheel, whether it be in memory of a loved one that has died from AIDS, COVID, or any of the ongoing pandemics we’re commemorating this year.

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5. Make a general donation. Any and all support towards our signature Days Without Art event ensures that we can continue our work to perpetuate the mission that we started 30 years ago. Thank you in advance for your generous support.  



Days Without Art originated in 1992 as the “Medicine Wheel” installation in response to the ravages of the AIDS epidemic and the lack of official response.  Each year since SPOKE has mounted a 24-hour vigil and art installation on World AIDS Day where people from all backgrounds come to remember and grieve as a community while visual and performing artists present prayers, spoken word, dance, music and ritual.

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