World AIDS Day, a global movement uniting people in the fight against HIV and AIDS, takes place annually on December 1. This winter, in honor of this internationally recognized event, Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) offers several opportunities to learn about HIV and celebrate the lives and achievements of those impacted by the virus.
Beginning on Sunday, November 12, at 7 p.m. at The Odd on Haywood Road, WNCAP invites the public to a live musical fundraiser featuring local musicians Tina and Her Pony, Lyle de Vitry and Campaign for Southern Equality artist-in-residence Brennan Henshaw. The musicians will perform in support of WNCAP’s mission to provide equitable access to care and reduce harm from HIV, Hepatitis C and drug use. “Obviously, there’s been a lot of progress in HIV care and research over the decades, but stigma still exists, and the virus is still out there, so I’m glad to be a part of this event,” says Henshaw. Tickets to the benefit show are donation-based and all proceeds benefit WNCAP’s services, including peer support, HIV and Hep C testing supplies, and food and medication delivery to clients living in remote regions of WNC.
On Thursday, November 30, from 12–1 p.m. at the DoubleTree Biltmore hotel on Hendersonville Road, WNCAP will host its annual World AIDS Day Luncheon. Special guest educator and activist Deondre Moore, voted one of 2021’s “Amazing People Living with HIV” by HIVPlus Magazine, will share his inspiring story of love and healing. “The luncheon is an important opportunity for us to share our work and engage the community in meaningful dialogue around HIV care and prevention,” says Peggy Weil, WNCAP chief operating officer. The luncheon is open to the public, but seating is limited. Tickets are available with a suggested $10 donation.
On Friday, December 1, from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday, December 2, from 1-4 p.m., at the East Asheville Library on Avon Road, WNCAP offers Day With(out) Art, a presentation of six short videos exploring a range of experiences by artists living with HIV.
This year’s theme, Everyone I Know Is Sick, inspired by a statement from Cyrée Jarelle Johnson in the book Black Futures, examines society’s exclusion of sick and disabled people by upholding a false dichotomy of health and sickness. In partnership with the East Asheville Library and the national arts organization Visual AIDS, the hour-long video program will feature newly commissioned works by international artists Dorothy Cheung (Hong Kong), Hiura Fernandes & Lili Nascimento (Brazil), Beau Gomez (Canada/Philippines), Dolissa Medina & Ananias P. Soria (USA) and Kurt Weston (US). The Day With(out) Art video presentation is free and open to walk-in viewers during showtimes listed above.