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NAMES Project New York City Newsletter
Summer 1995
Letter from the Chair
Panelmaking 101
Street Fair

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Letter From The Chair (Summer 1995)
By Clarissa Crabtree

I write this letter after an intense weekend with the Quilt and frankly, I am Quilted out. The display at Columbia University was a wonderful success, despite the weather once again putting the kibosh on the outdoor portion. Sunday took us to Vassar College to display the Quilt at a Parents weekend. Although the two events were very different, both in terms of size, purpose and stress level, they nevertheless demonstrated the power of the Quilt and how it touches so many lives in so many different ways and why we keep doing what we do.

1995-1996 will hold many challenges for NAMES Project New York City. We are growing up and becoming a much sough-after entity in the metropolitan area. Plans for this year include becoming our own 501(C)3, host the third annual street fair in July here we will have a mini-display; and panelmaking workshops in all five boroughs.

It is most appropriate that the World Health Organization has announced that the theme of this year's World AIDS Day will be "Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities" because it is only through sharing the work, not only amongst ourselves within the NAMES Project but also reaching out to other organizations and institutions in the metropolitan area will we be able to continue the work that was begun under Jeff Thur (founding chair of the Chapter). Institutions are requesting not only Quilt but also that we conduct panelmaking workshops at their facilities. We are receiving requests from upstate New York and Connecticut where no chapter exists. The response of our needs assessment questionnaire last year showed that what we do, we do well, but we should do more of it. How do we meet those challenges? How to we get Quilt and panelmaking to everyone who wants it and needs it? Clearly, the only way this can be done without driving our volunteers crazy is to establish partnerships with other organizations and spread the work around. During this year we will reach out not only to other AIDS service organizations, but also major corporations and small local businesses for funding, performing arts, educational and health organizations for shared benefits, and anything else we haven't thought of that you might suggest.

And then there is D.C. in 1996. Although it is almost 18 months away, the concept of bringing 50,000 panels to the Mall in Washington, DC Columbus Day weekend, is truly overwhelming. A mile of panels...logistically it is paralyzing but all the Chapters have expressed strong interest in being active partners with the Foundation to pull it off. In preparation for this event, many of the events and activities we will be involved with this year are geared towards preparing us for DC. There will be volunteer trainings, fundraisers, workshops, contests, you name it, we'll do it to get the word out and people to DC.

As we organize these many events, we want to update our mailing & volunteer list. Enclosed in this newsletter is a volunteer registration form. Please fill it out completely so that we know what your areas of interest and/or expertise are and can get you involved with the right committee. Make copies and give them out to your friends, get as may people involved as possible, the more of us there are, the easier, quicker ad more fun the work is.

A new feature of the Monitor is information about Foundation happenings and events taking place in other Chapters. We do not operate in a vacuum, nor do we need to reinvent the wheel each time we want to do something, so not being proud, we will steal anything that worked elsewhere and adapt it. It is also a nice way to make you aware of how connected we all are.

I want to thank all of you for your confidence in electing me as your chair. Together we can continue to grow our chapter into not only the tough, brassy and in-your-face organization that it needs to be to make itself felt in New York City, but also the caring, sensitive and supportive organization that exemplifies all that the Quilt represents.

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Panelmaking 101 (Summer 1995)
By Ben McLaughlin

When you think of the Quilt, what do you think of...PANELS. Ad who have those panels? Panelmakers, right?

Panels are the building blocks of the Quilt. Panelmaking generates more questions than almost any other aspect of the Quilt. "How large should I make my panel?" "What happens to my panel once I turn it in?" Also questions arise such as "I can't sew but I want to make a panel, what can I do?" This is where we try to help. Panels range from the very simply (friend's name, birth/death dates), to the most beautifully ornate (embroidery, fabric paint, photos or clothing).

When I meet a panelmaker for the first time I like to have other single panels to show, and I like to have the Quilt Book document of the 1987 display in Washington, DC. This gives some ideas about how to remember a friend. Especially for people who have little or no sewing experience, this can be invigorating. They suddenly realize that anything they want to do is possible. I try to get the panelmaker(s) to talk about their friend so we can remember happy memories. That information can be translated to a Quilt panel. Remembering the seasons, did your friend love spring? Draw flowers, cut them out of fabric with a flower print, attach it to the panel. Summer? How about the beach, a big, yellow sun. Fall has beautiful leaves, a pumpkin for Halloween. Winter has Christmas snow, or ice skates. You're remembering this persons's life. Put it down on fabric. The only limits, as The NAMES Project Foundation says, are the size of the panel and your imagination.

Most panels have a name either sewn in with fabric by an indelible or permanent markers, cutting letters out from stencils, cutting the name out of a favorite piece of clothing, making the panel even more personal. Find a signature from the person, enlarge it on a photocopy machine, have it transferred to a piece of cloth, sew it onto the panel. Your friend's name is there in his or her handwriting. Do this yourself, or find out at a panelmaking workshop.

Include photos of the friend, photos transferred to fabric. Do this yourself or go to a T-shirt transfer shop. What happens at the panelmaking workshop? We are slowly achieving our goal of having some kind of panelmaking going on in every borough.

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Street Fair (Summer 1995)
Saturday, July 15, we will be hosting the third annual street fair in Greenwich Village. Under the able leadership of Tom McLellon, we will cover the area of West Third Street between LaGuardia Place and Broadway. Tom is currently negotiating with representatives from New York University so we will be able to have a mini display of Quilt.

There will be tables for merchandise and we will create a panel "New York Remembers" during the day. We will needs lots and lots of volunteers working as Quilt monitors and providing emotional support, panelmakers for the signature square, volunteers for merchandise and information. We also need media and logistic people to get organized, so please make sure you fill out the enclosed volunteer form and return them as soon as possible.

For those planning to volunteer for DC '96, remember this is an opportunity to gain experience on working a display.

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