A&U Magazine was launched in 1991 as Art & Understanding by Editor-in-Chief and Publisher David Waggoner in response to the loss of so many of his peers from the creative community. Viewing AIDS as a cultural holocaust, Waggoner set out to create a forum for the creative responses of those living with HIV and AIDS, their peers, their caregiving circles, their families and loved ones. Through the pages of an attractive, glossy and commercially appealing publication such as A&U, the HIV community’s works can be saved, published and archived for all time. A&U’s David Waggoner hopes that his dedicated staff of writers and artists have helped elevate understanding and compassion about the disease. Over time the publication has recognized the need to archive various other creative, cultural, and educational responses to the AIDS pandemic: nutrition, treatment, and alternative therapies; cultural commentary; book and film reviews; celebrity interviews; HIV and AIDS organizations which are making a difference. As a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, A&U’s sole purpose is to benefit and serve the HIV community. Over the past twenty-five years, A&U has grown into a popular and well respected periodical and a valuable educational tool. Its nature is global and reflects the diversity of experiences of all those who are HIV-affected. A&U is an unusual hybrid publication whose readership reflects a cross section of society: leading intellectuals, business and civic leaders, artists, AIDS educators, AIDS activists, doctors, pharmacists, and others who are well-informed about the disease.
Art & Understanding, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. The mission of Art & Understanding, Inc.’s A&U magazine is to collect, archive, publish and distribute the growing body of art, activism, and current events emanating from the AIDS pandemic. It was created for the HIV-affected community.
A&U offers free bulk subscriptions to ASOs and other HIV/AIDS-related sites. Email us at mailbox [at] aumag [dot] org for more information.
Our Editorial Staff
David Waggoner (Editor in Chief & Publisher) founded A&U in 1991.
Chael Needle (Managing Editor) has been with A&U for over seventeen years. He coedited, along with Diane Goettel, the anthology Art & Understanding: Literature from the First Twenty Years of A&U. Alongside his editorial and feature work for A&U, he has published his fiction and poetry in Callisto, T.R.O.U., Owen Wister Review, Adirondack Review, Blue Fifth Review, Lilliput Review, and bottle rockets, among others. Follow him on Twitter @ChaelNeedle.
Dann Dulin (Senior Editor):
Sean Black (Senior Editor) is an openly trans, HIV-positive journalist, advocate, and educator living with AIDS. Growing up during the 70s and 80s he experienced the darkest days of AIDS firsthand, losing many of his closest friends to the disease. Impacted by the grotesquely premature loss of loved ones, witnessing their tragic demise and surviving the early years of AIDS, his photographs and writings reflect upon life and the human experience primarily through this lens. His broader interests within the nexus of social activism, gender and sex studies and visual art drives his work with the intention of presenting thought provoking content in the hopes of effecting compassion and positive change.
He holds an MA in Photography from California State University San Bernardino (2009) and an MFA from the University of Miami (2014). At A&U, he has worked since 2009 interviewing/photographing icons such as Sheryl Lee Ralph, Cleve Jones, Dustin Lance Black, Peter Staley, John Waters, Martha Wash, Cloris Leachman, Kylie Minogue, Gilles Marini, Teddy and Milissa Sears, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Laverne Cox, Debra Messing, Julie Newmar and John Newmeyer, Greg Gorman, Suzanne Somers and Alicia Keys. He is an adjunct instructor at California State University San Bernardino and Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga where he teaches the Introduction to Photography as well as the History of Photography.
His work has been published internationally and has been exhibited in numerous national exhibitions. His work has been recently acquired by The Harvey Milk Photographic Center.
Lester Strong is Special Projects editor for A&U. A long-time transplant from his hometown of Albuquerque, NM, to New York City, he lives happily on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his husband Dave Kampel. Aside from writing for A&U over the past twenty years, he has published his essays on the arts and culture in general in scholarly journals and LGBT publications all over the country. He is also the author of two books. He and his husband love going to museums, and since they met square dancing they travel all over the U.S. and Canada to national square dancing conventions. Follow him on Twitter @LesterQStrong1.
Chip Alfred (Editor at Large):
Alina Oswald (Arts Editor) is a writer, photographer and the author of Journeys Through Darkness: A Biography. Visit her online at alinaoswald.com.
Hank Trout (Editor at Large) edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a thirty-seven-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.
Justin B. Terry-Smith (Columnist) MPH, has been fighting the good fight since 1999. He’s garnered recognition and awards for his work, but he’s more concerned about looking for new ways to transform society for the better than resting on his laurels. He started up in gay rights and HIV activism in 2005, published an HIV-themed children’s book, I Have A Secret (Creative House Press) in 2011, and created his own award-winning video blog called, “Justin’s HIV Journal”: justinshivjournal.blogspot.com. Presently, he is working toward his doctorate in public health. Visit his main Web site at www.justinbsmith.com. He welcomes your questions at [email protected].
Jeannie Wraight (Columnist/Features Writer) is a long time HIV treatment activist, a past member of ACT UP NY and has sat on numerous HIV-related advisory boards and Board of Directors. She writes for several HIV publications and has attended over 75 HIV scientific conferences around the world. She is a co-founder of Nets Against Malaria in Uganda (NAMIUganda) and lives with her husband in upstate New York.
Larry Buhl (Columnist/Features Writer) is a radio news reporter, screenwriter, and novelist living in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @LarryBuhl.
Corey Saucier (Columnist/Features Writer) is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction and Non-Fiction and is currently penning his first novel. His musings and wanderings on Love, Life, and Nonsense can be found at www.justwords.tumblr.com.
George M. Johnson (Columnist/Features Writer) is the Managing Editor of BroadwayBlack.com. He currently writes for EBONY, TheGrio, TeenVogue, NBC News and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
John Francis Leonard (Columnist/Features Writer) is an advocate and writer, as well as a voracious reader of literature, which helps to feed his love of the English language. He has been living with HIV for thirteen years and he is currently at work on his first novel, Fools Rush In. Follow him on Twitter @JohnFrancisleo2.
TJ Banks (Reviewer/Features Writer) is the author of Sketch People: Stories Along the Way, A Time for Shadows, Catsong, Derv & Co.: A Life Among Felines, Souleiado, and Houdini, which the late writer and activist Cleveland Amory enthusiastically branded “a winner.” Catsong, a collection of her best cat stories, was the winner of the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. She has received writing awards from the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA), ByLine, and The Writing Self.