ONE Makes a DIFFArence Brings NYC Youth and Artists Together for HIV Education and Prevention
Using art as a powerful medium to make an impact on HIV prevention and education, professional artists and youth in NYC came together for ONE Makes a DIFFArence. Created by ONE® and DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, ONE Makes a DIFFArence is a program structured to educate NYC youth about sexual health through art and design. Additionally, professional artists joined the program, using their talents to create empowering artwork that supports HIV prevention and education efforts.
"Art and design play an integral role in empowering people to take action in HIV prevention," said Johanna Osburn, executive director of DIFFA. "We were excited to partner with ONE® Condoms in this unique way to bring together teens and professional artists to educate through art and help people make a difference in their own sexual health."
The CDC reports that of teens and young adults that reported having had sexual intercourse in the last three months, 43 percent did not use a condom the last time they had sex. Only 10 percent of sexually experienced students have ever been tested for HIV.
"The ONE makes a DIFFArence program provided a safe space for our students to become educated and empowered about their health," said Anne Sobala, teacher at the Leadership and Public Service High School. "Students were able to express their understanding on the topics presented and advocate for public health in a creative and judgement free environment. It was a very powerful learning experience for everyone!"
As part of the educational component of ONE Makes a DIFFArence, ONE and DIFFA visited non-profit community organizations providing HIV/AIDS education and services, as well as a NYC high school. They hosted a healthy sexuality workshop, during which students created original works of art on seven-inch, metal templates inspired by what they had learned. Student artwork ranged from designs featuring a consent unicorn to colorful collages and designs promoting messages of love and unity. Participating organizations included Ali Forney Center, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, BOOM!Health and Leadership and Public Service High School.
"The HOTT program at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center is thrilled to have been a part of this initiative with DIFFA and ONE Condoms. We are excited to see this project expand conversations of safer sex and condom use to center the experiences of LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth. This collaboration highlighted to us ONE's commitment to having young people tell their own stories, feel empowered about their bodies and sexual health, and to be a part of public health campaigns from which they have historically been excluded," said Aruna Krishnakumar, director of Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT).
"At ONE, we share DIFFA's mission to find compelling ways to harness the influence of art to start conversations about condom use and break down stigma around the topic of sexual health," said Milla Impola, marketing manager at ONE® condoms, who partnered with DIFFA to educate the students. "We are inspired by the passion the students have to openly and honestly discuss crucial topics like consent and healthy relationships, and then translate their learnings into creative artwork."
The partnership also brought together 12 professional artists and designers in New York City who wanted to use their talents to make an impact on HIV prevention and education. Artists such as Tony Roko, Tyler Wisler, Justin Teodoro and Jon Burgerman donated their time and created original works of art on 30-inch, metal round templates. The artwork will be auctioned off at DIFFA's annual fundraiser called Dining by Design happening March 16-20. Proceeds from the artwork will benefit DIFFA's work to fund organizations across the U.S. that are combating HIV and AIDS.
Several of the professional artists also judged the students' artwork to help select a winner from each group. These four winning student designs will be displayed at Dining by Design, alongside the professional designs.
"What a thrill to be a part of a campaign to promote safer sex and have that extend to the community of creative students," said Tyler Wisler, an influential designer who has been featured on shows such as HGTV's Design Star. "I'm so impressed with the clever messaging and artwork these young minds have demonstrated. This has been a phenomenal honor to be a part of the ONE Makes A DIFFArence program!"
Both the four winning student designs and the 12 professional designs will be featured on ONE condom wrappers, distributed by health organizations nationwide. ONE's signature, round condom wrappers feature hundreds of unique designs, many of which are created through curated artist partnerships. In addition to working with DIFFA, ONE has partnered with 22 celebrated NYC Street Artists to create artwork to help stop the disproportionate rates of HIV in urban communities, and collaborated with the Tom of Finland Foundation to create the first-ever condom line featuring the late artist's world-celebrated homoerotic artwork.
"We believe that colorful and relevant artwork on condom wrappers serves as a conversation starter and breaks down stigma around condom use," said Davin Wedel, founder and president of ONE Condoms. "ONE Makes A DIFFArence is about bringing people together -- artists, health organizations and youth -- to use art as a powerful medium to make an impact for sexual health."
For more information, visit onecondoms.com/diffa