‘Touched’ – 30th Installation of Days Without Art 2021

 “The frailty of the human condition—and the cruelty of untimely loss of life—is one of art’s oldest and most enduring themes.”                  

Eric Bruehl – Getty Museum

Touched quiltOur work at SPOKE began 30 years ago to create a place where people gather to reflect and remember those lost to the AIDS pandemic. This mission remains just as urgent today as we face multiple pandemics of COVID-19, racism, and addiction, alongside the continuing scourge of HIV/AIDS, particularly among vulnerable populations.

This year for our Days Without Art/World AIDS Day installation, we invite people to create a fabric sampler, 16″ x 16″ to remember, reconnect and honor how you have been touched in these concurrent pandemics; someone who has Touched your life physically, spiritually, or emotionally.

Days Without Art will be a series of cultural events and actions connecting World AIDS Day, Dec 1st with National Black HIV Awareness Day, Feb 7th.  The quilt will be installed on December 1st, at the Boston Center for the Arts along with 30 sections of the historic AIDS/ Names Memorial Quilt.

The installation will serve as an enduring testimony to those we have lost to pandemics and an invitation to see who can be for each other. As we sew the sections together, we imagine the thread as the beauty of the energy that connects us all to our shared humanity.

There are a few ways to participate in this year’s Days Without Art: Touched – In Times of Pandemic

1. Create a panel for our Touched installation, which will be installed at the BCA on World AIDS Day, December 1st. Submissions can be independently completed, or you are welcome to attend one of our “quilting bee” workshops. Find out more about creating your own quilt square here, and sign up for a workshop with one of our talented fabric artists here.

Finished samplers can be sent to:

840 Summer Street #103
Boston, MA 02127

2. Sponsor a section of the historic Names AIDS Memorial Quilt. 

In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. SPOKE maintains 30 of the original 1,920 panels that represented the names of those lost, which will be proudly displayed alongside a quilt of our own creation. However, these panels are over 30 years old, and we need your financial help to preserve them.


Please let us know if you would like a specific panel!


3. Contribute an offering performance during our 24-hour vigil on World AIDS Day, December 1st, at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama.

4. Make a general donation. Any and all support towards our signature Days Without Art event ensures that we can continue our work to perpetuate the mission that we started 30 years ago. Thank you in advance for your generous support.  




You don’t have to be an artist or know how to sew, knit crochet etc., to create a section for Touched. You can use paint, fine needlework, iron-on transfers, markers, crochet, knitting or even spray paint on a sheet. You may choose to create a panel privately as a personal memorial or you may choose to follow the traditions of old-fashioned quilting bees by including friends, family, and co-workers. That choice, like virtually everything else involved in making a panel, is completely up to you.

Join us for open studio “Quilting Bees”, beginning Thursday September 23rd - Friday, November 19th, at our studio at 840 Summer Street in South Boston.

Tuesdays                    6-:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Thursdays                   10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Fridays                        10:00 am – 4:00 pm 


Days Without Art originated in 1992 as the “Medicine Wheel” installation in response to the ravages of the AIDS epidemic and the lack of official response.  Each year since SPOKE has mounted a 24-hour vigil and art installation on World AIDS Day where people from all backgrounds come to remember and grieve as a community while visual and performing artists present prayers, spoken word, dance, music and ritual.

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