On January 20th, Visual AIDS will join our friends and colleagues in art and activism in the #J20 Art Strike, protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth President of the United States. We will close our office, as will many galleries, arts organizations, theaters, and museums in New York City. This is a stepping off point as we affirm our values and start taking action against what lies ahead.

Visual AIDS understands the importance of solidarity and the symbolic power of cultural institutions shutting their doors or using art to raise social consciousness. In 1989, Visual AIDS organized the first Day With(out) Art, as a day of “action and mourning” and in solidarity with people living with AIDS and their caregivers — before the "world wide web," smart phones and social media channels, it raised awareness where the media lacked, and let thousands of others know they were not alone.

Today, we will not stand idly at hand. Trump has vowed to dismantle our healthcare,"repeal and replace" Obamacare, he has no policy on HIV/AIDS, reportedly plans to dismantle the National Endowment for the Arts, and threatens a wide a range of freedoms — women’s rights, immigration, and free press... Artists, collectives and institutions have already been responding, including the Halt Action Group, which has led the Dear Ivanka protest rallies, We Make America art collective, What Would and HIV Doula Do?, and the Nasty Women exhibition, which raised funds for Planned Parenthood.

Many museums, universities, and other venues have also chosen to stay open and host public forums, rallies, and other activities as forms of protest. A list can be found here: https://j20artstrike.org/nyc/. On January 21, thousands are expected to come together for the Women’s March on Washington and the Women's March on New York, the day after the inauguration.

At this time in history, it is vitally important that we gather together, raise our voices and show solidarity — we still believe art and action has the power to ignite change!