OAKLAND - A section of the world-famous AIDS Memorial Quilt went on display at a youth center in Oakland Thursday and will remain on view through next Wednesday.

The eight colorful panels of the quilt are being shown in the main meeting room of Youth UpRising at 8711 MacArthur Blvd. The group provides health, education, arts and civic programs for youth and young adults from the ages of 13 to 34.

The quilt, begun in San Francisco in 1987, now has more than 48,000 panels. Each panel measures 3 by 6 feet and was created by friends and family to commemorate the life of a person who died of AIDS.

The epic artwork's custodian is the Atlanta-based NAMES Project Foundation, which organizes about 1,000 displays of quilt sections each year in locations such as schools, community centers and places of worship.

Youth UpRising President Olis Simmons said he views the quilt as both a work of art and a tool for educating youth about the threat of AIDS and the need for compassion and an end to prejudice.

"The AIDS Memorial Quilt has evolved into our most potent tool in the effort to educate against the lethal threat of AIDS, the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time," Simmons said.

"Youth UpRising is proud to serve as a temporary home to the largest piece of community art in the world," he said.

The display was scheduled to open with a reception at the center this afternoon.

Future public viewing times are Friday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Monday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and Wednesday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.