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Art & AIDS: The Cradle Project Exhibit

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 2129 S St NW Washington DC 20008  See map

The Cradle Project Exhibit
July 18 to August 3, 2012,
Monday-Friday *** 10:00am-4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday (July 21, 22, 27 and 28) *** 11:00am-5:00pm

Washington Studio School
2129 S Street NW, Washington, DC

Art & AIDS: Installation of Handmade, Empty Cradles To Call Attention to Plight of African Orphans

Exhibit in DC to coincide with XIX International AIDS Conference and renewed global focus on eliminating all new HIV infections in children;
Represents work of US artists using scrap, found and discarded materials

Washington, DC—Alongside the XIX International AIDS Conference taking place this month in Washington, DC, which will draw thousands of scientists and advocates to the city, three non-profit organizations are sponsoring an art installation to draw attention to the plight of the estimated 12 million children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

The cradles comprise a wide variety of art forms collected from all corners of the United States, crafted from hands as diverse as those of school children to those living in homeless shelters to museum-exhibited artists. Brightly colored collages and fabrics, stained and painted wood, metal scraps and puzzle pieces come together to create stunning pieces representing the lost potential of our world’s orphaned children.

The purpose of The Cradle Project is to raise awareness and inspire action. This particular exhibition is co-sponsored by the Washington Studio School, Aid for Africa and Firelight Foundation. Both Firelight Foundation and Aid for Africa support local groups in Africa who provide a “cradle” of vital care for children struggling to grow up in the face of hardship. More specifically, Firelight grantee-partners work to provide community care for children, making it possible for them to live with extended family when they have lost one or both parents as opposed to living in orphanages, where they are cut off from the important relationships that help them to grow up strong, healthy, and prepared to lead.

The cradles to be exhibited in Washington, DC represent a fraction of the more than 500 submitted to “The Cradle Project” first organized by artist and TED Fellow Naomi Natale in 2008. While most are now in private collections, Firelight Foundation President and Founder Kerry Olson is making cradles from her personal collection available for viewing to extend the impact of this project. In addition,select artists in DC were invited to create and contribute new cradles to the exhibition.

Founded by artist Naomi Natale after a visit to Kenya’s slums and tribal reserves, the vision of the project was to use empty cradles as symbols to reflect the basic needs of children that AIDS threatens. “If we can see enough potential in discarded materials to build structures meant to cradle a child, then we believe that every one of us will be challenged to see and help realize the potential of our world’s orphaned children,” says Natale.

The initial Cradle Project exhibition was born to promote awareness and raise financial support to help feed, shelter and educate these children through the Firelight Foundation, which gave 100 percent of the proceeds to African organizations directly serving children in need.

The Cradle Project exhibit hours are July 18 to August 3, 2012, Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm, Saturday and Sunday on July 21, 22, 27 and 28 from 11:00am-5:00pm. 

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Firelight Foundation

The mission of Firelight Foundation is to improve the wellbeing of children made vulnerable by HIV, AIDS and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Firelight supports grassroots organizations that help families and communities meet the needs of their children. For more information, visit www.firelightfoundation.org. Follow the Firelight Foundation on its blog Ubuntu, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Aid for Africa

Aid for Africa is an alliance of 85 U.S.-based nonprofits and their African partners who help children, families, and communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The alliance addresses the education, health, agriculture, economic, and conservation challenges facing the region. For more information visit www.aidforafrica.org.

Washington Studio School

Washington Studio School is a community of artists and students dedicated to the practice of visual arts with conscious awareness of both historical traditions and contemporary experience. Our exceptional faculty, all practicing artists, teaches high school and adult students the art of observation. Working from life, students at all levels learn the skills and visual language necessary to translate their observation into a personal vision. For more information, visit www.washingtonstudioschool.com

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