Thesis Title

The AIDS Memorial Quilt: Therapeutic Benefits of Panelmaking as an Art Therapy Intervention

Graduation Date

Spring 1995

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Making a panel for The AIDS Memorial Quilt is an experience common to thousands of individuals dealing with Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) related bereavement. This study evaluates the therapeutic nature of

panelmaking in the grieving process and identifies several therapeutic benefits. Eight males and ten females, ages 12 to 67, were interviewed based on having had a relationship of 2 or more years with a person with AIDS (PWA) and on having created a panel for The Quilt. Demographics collected included personal information, and information on community support and various aspects of the of the relationship with the PWA. Therapeutic benefits were assessed through open-ended questions. Results support panelmaking as a healing intervention and indicate a variety of benefits as related to the use of art therapy for grief intervention.