Six years in the making, Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster was

one of the largest, most complex and ambitious exhibition undertakings for MAG in

recent memory. It began with a collaboration agreement in 2016 between the

Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) and the River Campus Libraries (RCL) for a major

exhibition focused on the AIDS Education Poster Collection, part of the holdings of

the River Campus Libraries’ Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and

Preservation (RBSCP) donated beginning in 2007 by Dr. Edward C. Atwater.

MAG and RCL staff engaged a blue-ribbon advisory committee of invested

stakeholders, including elected officials, leaders from a variety of fields and

disciplines, and community activists. From this group was borne four others, advisory

groups that focused on marketing, broad public engagement, in-gallery educational

opportunities, and on a curriculum guide for undergraduates and students from

grades 9-12. By the time the exhibition opened, a broad and engaged audience for

the project was already formed, ready and eager to take in the extraordinary

accomplishments that the show and book represented.