Gallery owner Andrea Ruggieri's fax machine has been whirring incessantly for the past few weeks and that's just fine with her, for each time the machine rings, out comes another piece of art -- a fax-photo from New York photographer Cindy Sherman, an eight-page fax from Boston conceptual artist Annette Lemieux that contains the words "Take Your Country Back Forward," and images from Christopher Wool, Sandy Skoglund, Judy Chicago, Richard Prince, John Baldesari and others. In all, Ruggieri has received more than 200 "faxworks," as she calls them, from artists as far away as California and Europe.

The faxes will be "on the walls like wallpaper" at Ruggieri's gallery at 2030 R St. NW as part of "The Great American Fax Attack," an exhibition she organized to focus attention on the embattled National Endowment for the Arts and the "cold climate that exists in the arts community." It's also an attempt to raise money for Democrat Harvey Gantt, the former mayor of Charlotte, N.C., who is running for the Senate against incumbent Republican Jesse Helms.

"Harvey Gantt needs money for his media campaign, so we thought, 'What better idea than fax art, which is basically a media art?' " said Ruggieri. "The artists were very responsive. They thought it was a great idea."

The faxes, which are printed on bond paper for permanence, will sell for $25 each. For another $25, patrons can attend an exhibition preview on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m., and benefit receptions afterward at Gallery K and Anton Gallery. The exhibit will be on display until Oct. 13.

The event is just one of many benefits organized by members of the arts community around the country to support Gantt, who is opposed to any of the proposed changes in NEA funding procedures. Earlier this month, a group of musicians and dancers from North Carolina held a benefit show at Constitution Hall, while other events in Charlotte have ranged from literary readings by southern writers to concerts by the Spongetones and the Indigo Girls.

"Every day I get something in the mail with a wad of checks {from arts groups} and a note saying, 'I did this party or this event and here's the money we've raised,' " said Lee Coulter, the out-of-state events coordinator for the Gantt campaign.

According to Coulter, not all of the events are authorized or even known about by the Gantt headquarters. "Optimally, we would like that to happen, but ... there are a lot of people who want to support Gantt and there are lots and lots of things going on throughout {the campaign}."

Return of the AIDS Quilt

The Quilt, a patchwork memorial to AIDS victims, is coming back to Washington. Part of the Quilt, also known as the Names Project, will be displayed from noon on Oct 6 through Oct. 8 at Coolidge High School Field House, Fifth Street and Tuckerman Avenue NW. Since the Quilt has grown too large to be shown as a whole -- organizers estimate that its 13,000 panels would take up 13 football fields -- other cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles) will conduct concurrent unfolding ceremonies for other sections. The ceremonies will be marked by an audio linkup among the cities as the names of AIDS victims are read.

Other Quilt news: Local video stores are lending copies of "Common Threads: The Story of the Quilt," the 1989 Academy Award Winner for Best Feature Documentary, for free. HBO Video is donating any revenue from sales to the Names Project. And a mini-Quilt is on display at Washington Video Sales at 2012 S St. NW. It was made by employees of Schwartz Bros., a local video distributor, to commemorate friends who had AIDS.

Theater, Northern Virginia Style

All the world's a stage, and Virginia is full of players. But not everyone knows that, so the Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance is selling a 1990-91 season calendar, full of performance dates and information on its 33 member organizations. The NVTA was formed 10 years ago to give a boost to all those who toil under the stage lights without the recognition that the bigger venues receive. To order a calendar, send a check for $6, made out to NVTA, to Bruce Follmer, 5279 Navaho Dr. Alexandria, Va. 22312 ... Three cheers for two local writers who have received awards and a good deal of cash for their talents. Carolyn Forche,, a poet and professor at George Mason University, was awarded one of three Lannan Foundation poetry fellowships earlier this month. Forche, who received $35,000, has published two volumes of poetry and is working on a third. The Lannan Foundation, based in Los Angeles, is named after the late J. Patrick Lannan, a major benefactor of Poetry magazine and chairman of the Modern Poetry Association for over 30 years. And Patrick Cribben, a D.C. native who resides in Charlottesville, is the winner of the 1990 Virginia Prize for Playwriting, awarded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Cribben received $10,000 for his play "Feast of Stephen," which has been produced at the Helms Theatre at the University of Virginia.