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Our AIDS Story at moCa

December 1, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm



Our memories. Our lives. Our AIDS Story.


As part of their presentations of the National AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Artists Archive of the Western Reserve and the Museum of Contemporary Art (moCa) Cleveland have come together to host two collaborative story sharing programs. The first was held on September 25 at the Artists Archives during CONVERGE, an exhibition which featured the work of 70 regional LGBTQ+ artists. The second program, honoring World AIDS Day on December 1st, will be held in moCa’s first floor atrium, powerfully overlooked by sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt which accompany the exhibition Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.


HIV/AIDS has touched the lives of so many in Northeast Ohio. Grounded in the practices of community-building and healing, these unique programs are structured as inclusive story sharing circles. All are welcome to join these discussions and share their memories and experiences with the disease in a safe and nurturing environment.


Our AIDS Story at moCa will be facilitated by Jen McMillen Smith, a Social Work Specialist in the Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease at MetroHealth and coordinator of MetroHealth’s biennial exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The event will also include CONVERGE artists Gil Kudrin, Jim George, and Randy Maxin as featured storytellers as well as CONVERGE chief curator Kelly Pontoni.


 Attendance is limited and advance registration is required.

Please note: Participants are required to wear a mask inside the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (11400 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106)



About the Facilitator Jen McMillen Smith: Jen McMillen Smith is a Licensed Independent Social Worker who has been working with people living with HIV since 1998. With expertise in mental health and addiction, Jen created Compass Services at MetroHealth, where she facilitates support groups and provides counseling plus Rapid Start services for people who are newly diagnosed with HIV. Jen manages several HIV-related grants & projects, most notably a mobile app for 13-34 year olds living with HIV, Positive Peers. Jen has a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a BA in Sociology from Baldwin Wallace University.



About the accompanying exhibitions: 

  •  Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A., currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCA), maps the intersections and collaborations among a network of Los Angeles based queer Chicanx artists and their artistic collaborators between the late 1960s and early 1990s. Taking its title in deference to the artist Edmundo “Mundo” Meza (1955-1985), a central figure within his generation, Axis Mundo presents over two decades of work—painting, performance ephemera, print material, video, music, fashion, and photography— created in the context of significant artistic and cultural movements, from the emergence of the Chicanx civil rights, women’s, and LGBTQ liberation movements through to the political activism around the AIDS epidemic.
  • CONVERGE, was a group exhibition of over 70 artists presented by the Artists Archive of the Western Reserve (AAWR) picks up where Axis Mundo concludes, showing recent work by the LGBTQ artistic community of the Western Reserve. As in Axis MundoCONVERGE showcases stories that range from protest, pride, and transformation, to simple joy in the aesthetics of beauty and act of creation. Though the show closed on October 16th, the Archives continues to support the LGBTQIA+ community through it’s exhibitions and programming.

Axis Mundo and CONVERGE highlight the contributions of many under-recognized artists, solidifying their presence in the archives of art history. In concert with these exhibitions, both moCa and AAWR will display blocks of the National AIDS Memorial Quilt.


December 1, 2021
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa)
11400 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
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(216) 421-8671
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