Open Call

World AIDS Day Atlanta 2017

An Open Call for Art to End Stigma 


In honor of World AIDS Day, Georgia Equality, Counter Narrative Project and our community partners invite artists, advocates and community members to submit powerful pieces of art that will become the symbols of our city’s fight against HIV stigma. Successful submissions will be made into 2.5” x 5” placards that will be posted inside of organizations, businesses and other buildings dedicated to becoming HIV stigma-free zones. We invite submissions for visual art that will symbolize the demarcation of “safe space” for people living with HIV. In 2018, venues throughout Atlanta that agree to receive training and education about the harmful effects of HIV stigma and the importance of providing linkages to healthcare and other services will use these placards to show the public that they support and welcome people living with HIV.

Our panel of artists and community members will select up to 5 submissions to be made into these “HIV stigma safe zone” placards. Artists selected will receive an honorarium of $400 each. Submissions from artists living with HIV will be prioritized. Anyone living in Metro Atlanta may submit work.


Submit your application by Friday, November 11, 2017 11:59 pm. CLICK HERE to access the submission form.


This is open to ALL advocates, professional and amateur artists residing in Metro Atlanta who are willing to contribute visual art. Accepted artists must sign a Memorandum of Understanding and complete a W-9 to receive a stipend. The submissions of people living with HIV (people who are HIV+) will be prioritized.


Here are some basic tips for submitting work for this project:

●      Keep it simple. Successful submissions will be made into small placards that will come to symbolize places where people are committed to ending HIV stigma. Submitted work should be something you can imagine being made into a placard, or a sticker, and being recognized for what it symbolizes: safety.

●      Avoid cliches. Everyone has seen red ribbons. Your design should be something that refreshes the conversation about HIV.

●      Don’t perpetuate stigma. Any images that invoke fear, warning or alarm may contribute to the problem of HIV stigma. Successful designs should disrupt the narrative of “protecting people from HIV,” and focus on safe space for people who are living with HIV.

We invite you to share our vision of a world in which artists speak loudly about HIV and where art saves us all from the deadly epidemic of silence.  Artists should keep these guiding principles in mind when submitting work for this project:

Life first, HIV second.

The life story of someone living with HIV is complex in and of itself. In public narratives of people living with HIV, the part about HIV is often centralized for the sake of shock (or simplicity) at the expense of humanizing details. This is at least partly because these stories are used as tools for HIV prevention education. This exhibit should challenge the idea that people living with HIV should serve as conduits of prevention education. Successful submissions should disrupt popular conversations about the role HIV plays in a person’s whole life course. Installations should demonstrate how HIV is woven into the complex life of a complex person, and why the environment in which people exist (the South, Georgia, Capitalism, polarized political climate, racial tension, etc.) contributes to the perpetuity of plagues.

Think Beyond Behavior.

This is not an exhibit to educate the public about HIV “risk behaviors.” While HIV is commonly understood through the lens of preventable risk behaviors (like sex, IV drug use, etc.) we want to deconstruct this perspective and help our communities think beyond individual risk behaviors to the “root causes” of the epidemic’s persistence in our region. For example, sex without a condom isn’t just an individual choice not to use a condom. It might be the result of lack of access to condoms or information about condoms, it may be the result of laws limiting teens access to condoms or information about safe sex, or religious and cultural traditions banning their use.


Challenge Stigma.

HIV stigma is a deadly combination of sex shaming, panic about illness and death, and fear and hatred of groups who are “othered” by the powerful mainstream: people of color, LGBTQQIA people, women, people who use drugs, sex workers, etc. Successful proposals will disrupt stigmatizing, fear-mongering, and “othering” messages that have dominated our response to the HIV epidemic. Likewise proposals that contain stigmatizing language or takeaway messages will be vetoed.


An Art Advisory Board consisting of local artists, business owners, non-profit leaders, people living with HIV and other community representatives will review submissions and artists will be notified no later than November 21st, 2017.


(Subject to change with notice):

●      Friday, November 11, 2017 at 11:59pm: Deadline to submit

●      Tuesday, November 21, 2017: Selected artists will be notified.

●      November 28, 2017 – December 3, 2017: Selected works will be on display at Auburn Avenue Research Library during the World AIDS Day-Atlanta Living With exhibit.

●      Monday, December 4, 2017: Selected works will be loaded out of Auburn Avenue Research Library

Questions? Please contact Emily Brown and Johnnie Kornegay at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 404-523-3070 ext. 3 (Email preferred for fastest response time.)