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Daily Pilot

Lecture benefit to help fight AIDS

OCC professor gives an architectural tour of the world while raising money for AIDS awareness.

By Britney Barnes

7:55 PM PDT, October 29, 2012

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See a Thai temple made from glass bottles, Ugandan coffins that are works of art and a Czech Republic chapel made from the bones of monks as part of an Orange Coast College lecture.

Art professor Irini Vallera-Rickerson hosts her 22nd annual "Art and Architecture Around the World" lecture at 7 p.m. Friday in the OCC Robert B. Moore Theatre. The multimedia lecture, which will also feature a pianist, singer and opportunity drawing, is an AIDS benefit that has raised more than $100,000 since its inception.

"You don't have to have any background in architecture or art," Vallera-Rickerson said. "It is a wonderful introduction for people who get excited and want to learn more about art and architecture. ... It's a nice evening, and it's kind of nice to know you can make a difference in your community."

Vallera-Rickerson started the benefit because of Aaron, a student she had gotten to know well, but hadn't seen in about five years when a Hoag Hospital nurse called saying he wanted her to visit him.

Aaron was very good looking but very thin when she saw him, she said. He asked her to spread the word about the consequences of AIDS.

During her lecture, Vallera-Rickerson spends about five minutes talking about AIDS awareness. All the money raised goes to helping those with the disease and their families.

Vallera-Rickerson buys Christmas presents for about 50 to 60 families with the AIDS Service Foundation of Orange County. She also shops for clothes, which she wraps and delivers with her students, to a rehabilitation facility for AIDS patients.

Part of the proceeds also fund a scholarship for OCC students.

"I do not like to just write a check and give to an organization," Vallera-Rickerson said. "Since I'm not a big organization and I don't raise the millions, I want to do something that is very direct."

It's also important for Vallera-Rickerson to keep the lecture affordable. Although she is quick to say that larger donations are accepted and needed, she doesn't want to exclude students or those without a lot of money.

"I want people to see that you don't have to be rich to contribute to community," she said.

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

If You Go

What: "Art and Architecture Around the World," the 22nd annual AIDS benefit

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Orange Coast College's Robert B. Moore Theatre, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa

Cost: $10 at the door at 6:45 p.m.

Parking: Free in lots B, C or D

Information: Call Irini Vallera-Rickerson at (714) 432-5039. Donations made out to OCC Aids Benefit can be mailed to Orange Coast College, attention Dr. Rickerson, at 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA, 92626.