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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: November 28, 2017

Peabody Center, art organizations join forces to observe World AIDS Day

Written by: Bob Keyes
A candlelight vigil will be held at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Congress Square. ThamKC/

A candlelight vigil will be held at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Congress Square. ThamKC/

With World AIDS Day coinciding with Portland’s First Friday Art Walk, the Frannie Peabody Center is partnering with the Portland Museum of Art, Creative Portland, Maine College of Art and other art organizations to present a three-day citywide arts-focused remembrance.

First Friday events include a candelight vigil at 5:15 p.m. at Congress Square, a screening of the French film “BPM” about the AIDS epidemic at the PMA at 6 p.m. (see review, Page M11) and a community conversation with Equality Maine program director Gia Drew, also at the PMA at 6:30 p.m.

The museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA and the Press Hotel will honor World AIDS Day by participating in A Day With(out) Art by shrouding pieces of art.

The PMA will shroud nine pieces, illuminate its arcade with red lights and place a ribbon banner on its facade. The remembrance also coincides with the museum’s annual lighting of its copper beech tree for the holiday season. The works will be covered on Friday and remain covered through the weekend.

“We’re so pleased to once again partner with Frannie Peabody Center to shine a light on World AIDS Day,” said Marcie P. Griswold, manager of community outreach and programs for the PMA. “Our copper beech tree lighting is an annual event that happens to align with World AIDS Day this year, so we designed the lighting ceremony around powerful themes of hope, strength and peace.”

Organized in 1989 in response to the AIDS epidemic, A Day With(out) Art recognizes the lives and achievements of those who died from AIDS and encourages caring for people with AIDS through treatment, education and research.

Among the shrouded works are “Dead Pearl Diver,” the marble sculpture by Benjamin Paul Akers; three photos by Nan Goldin and the painting “Kinsman Falls” by Marsden Hartley.

“By depriving access to these works of art, we invite you to pause and consider the void that AIDS has created in the art world specifically and our community more broadly,” Griswold said. “Directly or indirectly, the AIDS crisis impacts us all.”

Donna Galluzzo, executive director of the Frannie Peabody Center, praised the effort to turn World AIDS Day into a community event. “It’s not often that First Friday and World AIDS Day fall on the exact same day,” she said. “When we realized that, we put our heads together to pull off a collaboration that feels really significant.”

She and Dinah Minot of Creative Portland brainstormed ideas and lined up partners. “Things grew quickly from there. As people began to realize that a lot of other people were taking part and that it would be unique, it all started coming together,” she said.

Students at Maine College of Art created posters for the event. Among the highlights of the weekend: “Stonewall Strong,” a reading and discussion at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Portland Public Library with author John-Manuel Andriote and Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz; and a zine workshop at 2 p.m. Saturday at Zero Station with Peter Cramer and Jack Waters.

A full schedule of events is available at


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