AIDS in The Arts; NYC reactions and Music as Therapy

Reactions From New York City;

With both of my selected individuals being from New York, I decided to investigate into how and what New York did for individuals with HIV/AIDS. My main question was was there any support or just judgement. Upon my research into my question I found that New York was very aware. The AIDS epidemic was and still is in some communities a catastrophic thing that no one could have predicted. Although New York was aware, In the 1980’s there was still only a little government support for those who ended up with the disease. There was a lot of ignorance and shame at the individuals associated with the “gay plague”. Given the high rate at which the gay men died, certain fields such as art, fashion and literature were very devastated and never was about to bounce back or recover from this. It was devastating for them.


New York City actually has a whole AIDS Memorial, designed by Studio a + i, it is located in the northwest corner of St. Vincent’s Triangle. It’s dedication date is December 1, 2016. The memorial also features the work of world renowned visual artist Jenny Holzer. The engraved granite pavers includes sections from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. It also includes a central granite water feature and benches that serve as a gateway to the new park.

AIDS of course was not a thing to be excited about. In fact it made people very nervous. especially homosexual people. Receiving a phone call about the health of an individual can be pretty scary when there is a possibility of having AIDS. Mark Murphy Bearrentine and Randy Barnett both happened to be from the big New York City. In New York, AIDS was actually known about, still not as much as it should have been but there were individuals who brought awareness. “You know, the gay community did not stop in its tracks of living and enjoying looking at a beautiful boy even as it is 1,112 and counting.” says Mary Billard.  There was an article by playwright about guys and AIDS but it did not seem to be a big deal. Well as least as big as it should have been.

Music Therapy;

Finding out that you have such a life threatening desease such as HIV/AIDS can really put an individual down. Luckily there are many ways to cope with the fact. Knowing you are not alone and that you have people who are there for you halps tremendously as a coping mechanism. With the panels I had chosen, I noticed each of my persons, Randy Barnett and Mark Murphy Bearrentine, both had a love for music. Their love for music and arts acted as a way to cope with the hardships. A new Finnish study finds that combining music therapy with a standard treatment for depression plus psychotherapy and counseling works wonders at improving patient outcomes. Researchers believe the addition of music therapy allows people to better express their emotions and reflect on their inner feelings.