Supporting AIDS Awareness

Je Cacnio Nepomuceno (Singer, songwriter and collective member of Bagwis) is currently working with BeHiv (Better Living with HIV) where she recently helped pull together the current Emerging Energy Art Exhibition of work from Art Therpy Clients and other supportive individuals. Among the artists is also Bagwis’ very own guitarist Raven Guerrero.

Emerging Energy
BEHIVs Annual Exhibition of Artwork from Art Therapy Clients and Supportive Individuals

Better Existence with HIV (BEHIV), a Chicago and Evanston-based non-profit AIDS service organization, is hosting its annual exhibition of artwork created by clients in its Art Therapy Program, as well as supportive community members, at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. The exhibition, which was preceded by a fundraising reception on Friday, November 7 will run through December 6 at the Center’s Irving Harris Family Foundation Reception Hall on the third floor.

Filipino Visual Artists, Raven Guerrero and Jun-Jun Sta.Ana were among the supportive community of artists at the reception.

“I believe that our common humanity is best bridged and expressed through art. Whenever we create art, we create a physical manifestation of the energies within us. I believe that art is more than pretty pictures, but a way to communicate the infinites within us that words are not equipped to handle. I chose to contribute some of my art to BEHIV because of my great respect for their work in healing much more than the body, but of minds and spirits,” says Guerrero an upcoming artist in the Chicagoland area.

Jun-Jun Sta. Anna, an emerging artist who has done one person and group shows in Asia and within the United States, shares his sentiments.

“It is a cause that is close to home since I had two really close friends go through it, and passed on in the 90’s. I was then in the Asian antiques circle, so I knew several others who were either collectors, or dealers.
After this I started working at an AIDS hospital in Hollywood to sort of do my share, but could not sustain it financially so left I after a year”

BEHIV’s Art Therapy Program provides a social network to people who may not have one and is open to anyone willing to use art to help express difficult and complicated feelings. The impact on the community is manifold. It fosters art among people who value it and introduces the healing value of art to others. This, in turn, creates a sense of community and provides a sense of belonging to people who are often marginalized. Exhibitions also provide an educational value to the community and may provide an additional deterrent for those uninfected with HIV to remain so.

In the past, Art Therapy has been funded by federal funds, which have now been eliminated. BEHIV is committed to continuing the beneficial service and hosts the exhibition and reception annually to support the program, with reception proceeds and art sales benefiting the program. Sponsors of the exhibition include the Center on Halsted, Duxler Tire & Car Care Center, Illinois Department of Public Health and Chicago Department of Public Health’s RX Chicago.

Other supporting artists include Suzie Beltran, Valerie Cleaver, Jared Hatch, Miro Ledajaks, Laura McGlone, Josh Moulton, and Joyce Owens.

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