National AIDS Memorial and ViiV Healthcare Create Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Award to Support Young Artist-Activists Committed to the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Applications now being accepted for the first-ever award honoring Bowman’s passion for social justice  

San Francisco (May 26, 2020) – The National AIDS Memorial is now accepting applications for a newly created and inspiring program – the Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Award – that offers support to artist-activists who are working and committed to making a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The award is named in honor of Mary Bowman, the poet, advocate, author, singer and young person living with AIDS, who passed away in early 2019 at the age of 30. In its first year, the Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Award will support young “artivists,” who exemplify Bowman’s passion for the arts, as the vehicle for their own HIV/AIDS community activism and expression.

The award is being funded through a grant from ViiV Healthcare and is intended to support one young artivist, 27 years of age or younger, selected annually, to receive a $5,000 award. 

“Mary Bowman was an icon of hope and resilience, and performed at the 2018 ViiV Healthcare Youth and Community Summit where she inspired leaders across the movement,” said Marc Meachem, Head External Affairs North America ViiV Healthcare. “This award honors Mary’s legacy and will support young artists like her, who are using their creativity to have a powerful impact in their communities.”

ViiV Healthcare is a proud supporter of arts and culture programs that engage and inspire individuals and communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and recognizes the power of culture to break down stigma and isolation. A beautifully-produced video tribute to Bowman, created by the National AIDS Memorial through the support of ViiV Healthcare, captures that spirit and Bowman’s life and work. 

Born with HIV, Bowman lived out her experiences of growing up and living with HIV (and losing a mother to AIDS) through her art. As a young, out, woman of color, she was a dynamic, vital voice for the next generation of individuals living with HIV - proud, willing to speak of her own challenges with not just her own health needs (mental health, social support) - but also a fierce advocate for other young people with HIV for whom a voice was lacking. For Bowman, the arts gave her the platform and voice to channel her creative energy, her passion, her truth. 

“This award honors Mary’s pioneering work to end bigotry, discrimination, and to advance social justice, particularly around the issue of HIV/AIDS,” said John Cunningham, Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial. “Through programs like these, generously supported by companies like ViiV Healthcare, we are helping inspire a new generation of leaders in the HIV/AIDS movement.”

Details about application process and requirements for the award can be found at The first awardee will be announced in August 2020. Interested artist-activists must submit a full application by July 20, 2020, to be considered for the award. 


About the National AIDS Memorial: The National AIDS Memorial relies solely on funding from personal donors and corporate and foundation partners to support its mission and programs.  Its work, through the National AIDS Memorial Grove, The AIDS Memorial Quilt, and inspiring programs helps ensure that the story of AIDS and the AIDS movement is known in perpetuity so that never again will our national conscience allow a community to be devastated by an epidemic because of fear, silence, discrimination or stigma.

About ViiV Healthcare: ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV and for people who are at risk of becoming infected with HIV. Shionogi joined in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and innovative medicines for HIV treatment and prevention, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit