Art for Life organizer Joel Diaz is out to make this year’s September 25th event “a true celebration of our lives.” He’d like to save a few of those lives, too.
Diaz, 29, is a driving force behind the all-volunteer-led art auction and fundraiser, benefitting the Columbus AIDS Task Force (CATF). As CATF board president-elect, Diaz thinks the September 25 mega-event – at Ohio State’s Sullivant Hall – is the perfect opportunity to let the LGBT community know that “AIDS is still a critical issue in our community, and CATF is more relevant than ever.” Other community leaders seem to agree. The Ohio State University’s president, E. Gordon Gee, has signed on as honorary chair, and a range of LGBT community leaders and allies are serving as event co-chairs and patrons. “President Gee has been incredible,” said Diaz. “He immediately agreed to be our honorary chair, and he even hosted a reception for our leaders and sponsors at his home.”
Since the first Art for Life in 1989 – housed in the Battleship Building just south of the North Market – Art for Life has been a rallying point for the fight against HIV and AIDS. Diaz’ biggest concern, however, is that members of Central Ohio’s LGBT community no longer think HIV/AIDS is a critical issue, and many “no longer think CATF is a relevant institution in our community.” Nothing could be further from the truth, says Peggy Anderson, the agency’s CEO.
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