Artists give joy, inspiration and hope, and impart truth, ideas and societal change
In 2011, Dr. Tim Seelig, the then new artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, reached out to the National AIDS Memorial to discuss the immeasurable loss that impacted the vast arts communities across the nation in the early days and ensuing years of the epidemic. He talked about the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, who lost so many men that they christened a “Fifth Section,” in memoriam to the now over three-hundred voices who were silenced by AIDS. Tim talked of the chorus’ desire to honor and remember these artists, and all artists, in a more solid and tangible way. And it became very clear that this vision was so necessary for not only San Francisco, but also for our nation. Artists give joy, inspiration and hope, and impart truth, ideas and societal change.
Over the last seven years, a group of dedicated individuals continued to meet to discuss and hone the vision to create such a space. What was lost on Broadway, in Hollywood, in the fashion world, and within the galleries, halls, cafes and stages of every community will never be wholly known, but the lives of some of the most creative and vibrant souls must never be forgotten. In 2017, the National AIDS Memorial completed a memorial circle to honor the national Hemophilia community, who lost half of its population tragically as a result of the contaminated blood supply. The team found inspiration in this to realize the dream that Tim had shared on that walk in 2011.
Visitors to the new Artists Portal, located at the western end of the memorial, perched on the crest of a hill and tucked under towering native oak trees, will enjoy a beautiful view of the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Memorial Museum. The National AIDS Memorial and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus have worked together closely over the last year in the design, location, funding and labor to ensure this new feature honoring the national artists community became a reality.
One of Tim’s early ideas was to include an aural component in this space. An 8½-foot-tall Emperor Chime graces the space, a quiet sentinel until visitors ring the chime and speak a name or names of loved ones.
On December 1, 2018, prior to performing at the 25th annual World AIDS Day National Observance—the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus gathered at the Artists Portal to formally dedicate the newest addition to the National AIDS Memorial.
HOW TO ENGRAVE A NAME IN THE ARTISTS PORTAL
A completed donation of $1,000.00 allows you to engrave one name in the Artists Portal.
The engraving order deadline this year is October 10, 2021.
Engravings will take place in advance of World AIDS Day, December 1, 2021.
To order an engraving, please follow these steps:
- Go to the Artists Portal donation page
- 'Engraving Donation Amount' section — select the correct amount
- 'Engraving Confirmation and Names' section — confirm you want to engrave names and provide the name(s) exactly as you want them engraved:
• individual names are separated by comma
• names engraved together are separated by an '&'
• names are limited to 20 characters each
- Complete the donation process
- Please contact Operations Manager Matt Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance
What to expect next:
Notification of your order will be immediately sent to the National AIDS Memorial’s offices, and we will contact you should we have any questions related to your order.