AIDS Education Posters Design Competition

Visual Arts
Organization The Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (MAG)
Deadline January 30, 2022

The Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (MAG) in partnership with the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries (RCL) invites New York State artists to submit their original poster designs to a juried poster competition as part of the upcoming exhibition Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster, on view March 6 – June 19, 2022.

Up Against the Wall is the first major major exhibition and catalog devoted to the University of Rochester’s collection of HIV/AIDS-related posters. Donated by physician and medical historian Dr. Edward C. Atwater, these posters, one of the largest such collections in the world, document efforts by various groups to educate and inform people from over 130 countries in over 75 languages about this devastating disease. The posters span from 1982 to the present and show how social, religious, civic, and public health agencies have addressed the controversial, often contested, terrain of the HIV/AIDS pandemic within the public realm. The posters have carefully tailored messages that address different groups, and depending on their intended audiences, use scare tactics, simple scientific explanations, sexual imagery, and even humor to get their messages across.

The competition is open to artists in New York State over the age of 14.

We encourage artists to submit original poster designs that help raise awareness of the epidemic and open up the conversation on HIV/AIDS, using varying methods of communication, design, and messaging. The University of Rochester’s collection of AIDS posters is 8,000 large and represents a rich tradition of graphic design, visual culture, and public health in which to find inspiration.

For more information about the upcoming exhibition, please visit:

To view the entire AIDS Education Posters Collection online please visit:


First Place: The winning poster will be exhibited at MAG and added to RCL’s Atwater AIDS Education Poster Collection. DKT International, one of the largest providers for HIV/AIDS prevention in the world and a sponsor of the exhibition, will distribute the winning poster globally and through its social media network, The first-place winner will also receive a $500 cash award.
Second Place: $300 cash award
Third Place: $150 cash award

All winners will be featured on the AIDS Poster Exhibition website, added to AIDS Education Posters digital collection site, and displayed in MAG’s Vanden Brul Pavilion.