Shanti Projects is organized to reflect the process of becoming involved with Shanti as a volunteer. It opens with background on Shanti’s founding; how volunteers and staff were trained, and the role that people with AIDS played in those trainings. It is followed by two sections examining Shanti’s various programs. “The Gift of Presence” examines Shanti’s HIV client services from the 1980s to the 1990s by highlighting Shanti’s support groups, the Emotional Support, Practical Support, Crossings, and Van transportation programs; as well as Shanti volunteer ad campaigns from the mid 1980s. The following section, “Shanti in the World,” examines Shanti’s Residence Program and the San Francisco General Hospital Counseling Program. While most of Shanti’s client services took place in people’s private homes; the Residence and Hospital Counselor’s program took place in a centralized space away from the main offices and within a different style of kinship between clients and counselors, as well as community partners.
Alongside the main exhibit are three multimedia pages. One, Shanti Portraits, showcases the work of photographer Judi Iranyi. The numerous group photos and individual portraits will provide space to help identify the numerous people in the photos. Heart Work includes the work of Iranyi, Mariella Poli, and Jim Wigler with their portraits of people with AIDS/HIV who played important roles as either a client, volunteers, or a public face in connection with Shanti. The final page, Active Listening, will host space to eventually provide audio clips from oral histories conducted for this project with accompanying transcripts to follow.
A variety of people’s experiences and opinions on Shanti anchor the importance of this organization that continues to provide care to people with HIV, as well as various cancers and LGBTQ senior citizens. Highlighting the good, the controversial, and the way Shanti handled issues of difference and conflict are reflected here throughout the exhibit. Consider this a bird’s eye view of Shanti Project’s AIDS work. The content of the exhibit will expand as more materials are made available. Stay updated on this website’s content by signing up for our newsletter below.