The Letter Project
Dimensions variable, installation, 2016
The Letter Project is an interactive memorial sponsored by the Triad Health Project of Greensboro and their fundraising event, Dining For Friends. This year, THP is celebrating 30 years of AIDS funding, support, education, and care.
The Letter Project is a small installation consisting of a wooden table, handmade envelopes, writing utensils and a sound box. This writing station was for those who have lost loved ones to AIDS, and for those who are affected by the disease whether they have it themselves or know someone who does. Throughout the event, the letters, sealed shut, piled up and accumulated speaking to the mass of people who have been affected. Eventually, the letters were placed into a box for safe keeping--and not meant to be read. Instead, writing in this act was a gesture, a catharsis, a prayer, a message not meant for others eyes. Over 700 people in the Greensboro community alone have lost their lives to AIDS; these names were recited softly from hidden speaker in a walnut keepsake box placed on the table. This installation occupied the Association Room at the Weatherspoon Art Museum; as an in-between space, two glass walls allowed the inside to mix with the outside. While a celebratory party happened in the court yard, I set the table in this space as an offering of quietude, peace, remembrance, and healing. A range of people participated; one man stayed and wrote 4 letters while another spoke with teary eyes and offered me a warm hug.
The second memorial project was outside in the sculpture garden. A table full of fabric squares invited attendees to sign one with their name, the name of someone they’ve lost, or a message. These writings will be stitched together during the event. This quilt will be an ongoing project for the people at THP and Dining for Friends. In the future, they might send it to be part of the AIDS quilt. For information about Triad Health Project and Dining for Friends: http://www.triadhealthproject.com/