California native and longtime Los Angeles resident, Kenneth Bartmess, was a volunteer peer counselor at the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center during the 1980s-1990s. He earned a degree from Santa Monica College in the early 1990s, and was involved in theater and dance. Bartmess was also a craftsman, and ran a custom lamp and lighting-fixture business. In 1991, Bartmess lost his lover of 22 years, CJ Meagher, to an AIDS-related illness. He later wrote about his experience in From a Burning House: The AIDS Project Los Angeles Writers Workshop Collection (1996). As a craftsman, Bartmess also made masks for artistic expression.
Borger, Irene, Ed. From a Burning House: The AIDS Project Los Angeles Writers Workshop Collection. New York, NY.: Washington Square Press, 1996.