Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Ambassador Quinn Tivey continues his grandmother’s work
by Dann Dulin
[dropcap]Q[/dropcap]uinn Tivey, thirty, didn’t just love Elizabeth Taylor as a grandmother, he was deeply proud of her as well. Graduating with an MFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts, Quinn admired her complete fearlessness and uncompromising gall. So much so that he shares her passion in helping others and is carrying on in the trademark Taylor vein. He’s an ETAF Ambassador and, since his uncle, Christopher Wilding recently stepped down, Quinn was asked to take on the role of co-trustee for his grandmother’s Trust.
As an ambassador, Tivey works to raise awareness, while participating in national and international conferences and initiatives. One of Quinn’s main focuses is to create concern amongst his peers, bewildered that they don’t take the epidemic seriously. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts twenty to twenty-four year olds as the prime group of new infections.
To examine his grandmother’s journey more closely, he and Joel Goldman took on the project of photographing HIV-positive people across America, who have been helped by the Foundation. The photographs, along with short stories of each individual, were published in People magazine and exhibited at a Los Angeles gallery in 2014 during a fundraiser for ETAF.
Dann Dulin: What was it like creating these photographs?
Quinn Tivey: It was a moving and inspirational journey, meeting people from all different walks of life, all eager to share their stories to both raise awareness and perhaps help someone else in a relatable situation.
How did you learn about the epidemic?
My godfather [sculptor James Ford] died of AIDS-related complications when I was about six years old, followed later by his partner, who was my brother’s godfather [dancer Peter Reed]. I didn’t fully understand what was going on. I remember my mother explaining to us that my godfather was ill and it seemed like he wasn’t getting better, but that it was nothing to be afraid of and that it was important to give him all of our love.
What sparks you to continue your grandmother’s work?
She demonstrated immeasurable courage and compassion throughout her life and her activism, and to be a part of continuing that legacy, and to actually help other people in small or big ways, is an honor.
What was the best advice she ever gave you?
I can’t possibly choose one piece of advice, but I’ll say that she has inspired me, through individual advice, as well as by her actions throughout her life, by trying to live compassionately and courageously, to be vocal and to take risks.
For more information, log on to: www.elizabethtayloraidsfoundation.org.
Dann Dulin is a Senior Editor of A&U.