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Lafayette students and community members have worked with mixed media artist Martha Posner to construct “Offering Place,” a conical-roofed, circular, hut-like shelter, in the gallery of the Williams Center for the Arts in observance of World AIDS Day/Day Without Art, Dec. 1. The interior offers an embracing and private place for visitors. The wall started as a bare skeleton of fencing material, but has been transformed with cloth strips and ribbons tightly woven through it.

Gallery visitors can write personal notes and remembrances on ribbons and weave these into the walls during the exhibition period, December 1-8. The gallery will be open for the extended hours of 10 a.m.-8 p.m. December 1. From December 3-8, the gallery will be open 2-5 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday.

Although “Offering Place” coincides with World AIDS Day and Posner envisions it principally as a place to remember all those touched by AIDS and HIV — including caretakers and families of those who have died of AIDS — she invites visitors to commemorate all friends, family, and colleagues.

Posner has found potent cross-cultural examples of the use of fabric ribbons or strips of paper for memorials and messages: from Native Americans who have “written or mentally ‘charged’ a thought into colorful tobacco-filled fabric ‘prayer ties’ which are hung in special places”; Japanese girls who write their wishes on yellow ribbons, which are then hung in trees in a “star ceremony”; yellow ribbons tied on trees as a symbol of hope for peace during the Gulf War; and red ribbons to symbolize concern about AIDS.

Help is sought with construction and with contributions of fabric or ribbons in the red family (reds, orange-reds, purplish-reds, etc.). The fabric does not have to be new. Used sheets, blankets, and other cloth that can be cut or ripped into strips are welcome. Contact the art gallery at (610) 330-5361 or

Posner attended Philadelphia College of Art from 1975-1977. She received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation in 1984. Posner’s work is represented in the collections of Lafayette College, the Allentown Art Museum, Lehigh University, the George Gund Foundation, the College of Charleston, Kaiser Permanente, and Great Northern Corporate Center.

Posner’s 15 one-person exhibitions have included The Garment Series at the Ben Shahn Gallery of William Patterson University earlier this year, Selections From The Garment Series at Mabel Smith Douglass Library, Rutgers University, in 1999, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Birmingham Museum of Art. She also has been part of more than 35 group exhibitions since 1978, including ones at Easton’s State Theatre and local Artsquad Contemporary Art Gallery. Her work has been written about in major newspapers regularly over the past decade, including articles in The New York Times and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Lafayette College’s exhibition series is presented under provisions of the Detwiller Endowment, and is funded in part through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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