AIDS. Is it something to celebrate? Of course not.
Is AIDS research and education? Yes. Is the attention paid to HIV and AIDS for three decades within the arts community something to applaud? Absolutely.
In 1981, the CDC documented the first cases of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or what is most commonly understood to be the final stages of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Since then it's been assigned its share of disparaging nicknames, its victims have been shunned and left to seek support from charity organizations.
But also in that time much has been studied and learned about HIV/AIDS to help stop the ignorance and negativity, and those in the arts had much to do with it. Familiar personalities in the arts community -- from local to international -- have given the cause a voice, made it less frightening and more human. HIV/AIDS has been the subject of musicals, plays, albums, books, films. There's no reason to stop now.
To commemorate three decades of AIDS, the arts community is once again stepping up. Eleven local organizations are organizing to bring more than 200 performers -- singers, dancers and actors -- to the stage for A Gathering: The Dallas Arts Community Reflects on 30 Years of AIDS at 7 p.m. December 6 at Winspear Opera House.
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Individual artists will join the likes of AT&T Performing Arts Center, Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, Bruce Wood Dance Project, charlieuniformtango, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Texas Ballet Theater, TITAS and Turtle Creek Chorale to provide audiences with a one-night only event to commemorate, reflect, honor, and, yes, celebrate lives, advancements, education and awareness.
Something to applaud: All proceeds from the event will benefit Dallas AIDS service organizations: AIDS Arms, AIDS Services of Dallas, AIDS Interfaith Network and Resource Center Dallas.
Tickets are now on sale. To purchase, click here or call 214-880-0202.