-- Water bearers from Fort Point Channel to the Cyclorama mark 16th
Annual 24-hour vigil
BOSTON, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Artist Michael Dowling
is inviting thousands of youth to process with black and copper
buckets filled with water from Fort Point Channel in South Boston
into The Boston Center for the Arts as part of the annual 24-hour
vigil to honor World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. The annual event was
named Best Project in a Public Space by the Association Int'l des
Critiques d'Art's New England Chapter in 2006. According to U.S.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),
approximately one-half of new HIV infections occur in people
under 25 years of age.
Processions begin at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the
Arts on Tremont Street in the South End. Starting at 11 p.m. on
Nov. 30 and continuing for the 24 hours of December 1, people
will make short processions to Fort Point Channel and back to the
Boston Center for the Arts, where their water will become part of
the growing installation of thousands of copper-lined buckets
illuminated with a candle as they enter the Cyclorama. The
24-hour vigil blends the grace of public art with the gravity of
the public health message regarding youth and HIV/AIDS.
"Each bucket is a meditation -- on the vulnerability of our
youth, on the frailty of humanity, but also on our ability to
respond with hope and awareness." said Michael Dowling, Artistic
Director, Medicine Wheel Productions, the creator and producer of
this powerful annual event. "When we see thousands of buckets in
a room and imagine that number of youth will become infected this
year, the statistics mean something. At the same time, the art
is beautiful, as is the statement the youth are making by coming
together. Response has been phenomenal -- youth groups from the
inner-city to the suburbs, as far away as Worcester, are taking
Dowling invites the public to participate, either by joining the
water-bearers processions or by coming to the Cyclorama for any
period during the twenty-four hours of December 1. "People bring
sleeping bags and spend the night at Medicine Wheel; dozens of
artists add the gift of their art with dance, music, singing and
spoken word within the installation."
"We are honored to collaborate formally with Medicine Wheel and
Michael [Dowling]; for years we have had staff from our hotlines
and our HIV Health Library on-site at the Medicine Wheel event."
said Rebecca Haag, Executive Director, AAC, which has served
people with HIV/AIDS for 24 years and operates HIV, STD,
Hepatitis and Pharmacy Access hotlines statewide. "We were able
to raise the profile of Medicine Wheel's Water Bearers initiative
during Boston AIDS Walk this past June, giving exposure to the
project to more than 18,000 AIDS Walk participants as a prelude
to this World AIDS Day initiative."
"The Cyclorama is the historic home of The Medicine Wheel, and we
are very proud of that. In our role as a community cornerstone
for the arts we see a powerful link between the arts, social
justice and public health," said Libbie Shufro, president and CEO
of Boston Center for the Arts. "Our flexible space is ideal for
Michael's tremendously versatile, creative expression each year,
and we are awed by the topic and inspired by the possibilities he
has made real for nearly two decades."
The Medicine Wheel Youth Program has expanded from 15 young
people four years ago to more than 90 in its art mentorship
programs today. Many of the young people in the program are at
high risk of poverty, drug use and violence. Statistics show
that these same youth are often at higher risk of contracting
"Our kids have been pivotal to the success of this project,
calling youth groups across the state and leading forums on youth
and HIV for months now," said Dowling, "Water Bearers has been
helping all the youth who become involved to see themselves as
the idealists, reformers, humanitarians, innovators and inventors
and, most importantly, the communicators of their generation,"
said Dowling. "This project teaches them generosity and fosters
humanitarian actions dedicated to the cause of human fellowship
and the service of a common good."
Medicine Wheel Productions
Medicine Wheel Productions is an arts organization that invites
community participation in creating powerful public art. The
organization engages in large-scale public art projects, has a
Studio School, and runs the Medicine Wheel Youth Program, a
year-round arts mentorship program for inner city youth. All
programs and projects overlap and reinforce one another,
emphasizing the transformative power of inclusive public art
which gives voice to communities, to artists, and to youth.
Medicine Wheel Productions was just selected for inclusion in the
2007 Catalogue for Philanthropy. More info at
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc.
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc., (AAC), New
England's first and largest AIDS organization, is dedicated to
stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS by preventing new infections and
optimizing the health of those already infected. AAC provides
free confidential HIV rapid testing at its MALE Center in
Boston's South End and free confidential services to men and
women already living with HIV/AIDS, as well as conducts extensive
educational and prevention outreach to those at risk of
infection. AAC runs the only statewide AIDS Hotline
(1.800.235.2331), Hepatitis Hotline (1.888.443.4372) and Pharmacy
Access Hotline (1.800.988.5209). AAC also advocates for
effective science-based prevention programs. More information
is available at www.aac.org.
Boston Center for The Arts / Cyclorama
The Boston Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit performing and
visual arts complex that supports working artists to create,
perform and exhibit new works, builds new audiences, and connects
art to community. www.bcaonline.org.
Source: AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc.
CONTACT: Nancy Kilburn of the Medicine Wheel Productions,
+1-617-268-6700, Nancy.firstname.lastname@example.org, Diego Sanchez, APR of the
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc., +1-617-450-1524, Mobile:
+1-617-835-1455, email@example.com; or Alyssa DiPasquale of the Boston Center for
the Arts, +1-617-426-1522, firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: http://www.aac.org/