Quilt for Change raises awareness on global issues that affect women and empowers quilters to become agents for social change. Working with various partner organizations, we create themed art quilt exhibitions which are displayed at high visibility venues in Europe and North America such as the United Nations, major quilt festivals in the United States, museums and universities. Our exhibits are a forum for fiber artists from the U.S., Canada, Europe and around the world to share their talent, creativity and inspiration, and serve as a call to action by shining a spotlight on major issues affecting women around the world.
Artists were invited to create quilts that address the issue of clean water and its impact on the lives of women and girls. Jurors selected 41 pieces from artists from seven countries including the U.S., France, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, and Mexico. The exhibit was organized in partnership with the United States Mission to the U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Geneva and American Exchange Rome. “Water is Life” opened at the United Nations’ Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in March, 2016 to commemorate UN World Water Day. The exhibit was on display in Frascati, Italy in September 2016 and will open in the United States at the Houston International Quilt Festival the first week of November before being on display at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts from February to April 2017. It will then travel with Mancuso Quilt Festivals to seven U.S. cities.
In most rural parts Africa and the developing world, large numbers people suffer from energy poverty. They either face intermittent and insufficient sources of electricity or have none at all. Because of this, many households must rely on unhealthy cooking practices such as charcoal, wood or kerosene. Women must travel long distances to obtain fuel, children often cannot study after dark, and families suffer from health problems related to smoke and toxic fumes inside the home. This exhibition was organized to highlight the important work of Solar Sister, a non-profit that uses a micro-enterprise model to develop a network of small businesswomen (Solar Sisters) in Africa. Solar Sisters sell solar-based appliances such as solar lights and mobile phone chargers, allowing women to work from home, children to study longer hours, families to cook with less indoor pollution and associated health problems, and communities to connect with the outside world. The 22 art quilts in the “Solar Sister” exhibit were created by artists from the US, Canada, and Israel, opened in Geneva in March 2013, traveled to seven U.S. quilt festivals, and then were displayed at the New England Quilt Museum in 2015.
In celebration of the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day and the 10 year anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in 2010, Quilt for Change and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) sent a call out to fiber artists to create quilts on the theme of “Women, Peace and Security.” The 20 quilts in the exhibit are the personal expressions of artists from the U.S., Canada and Iran – a call for solidarity of the women of the world to work together to defend and protect women in times of conflict and to empower women to be active agents in the peace process. The special nature of women’s vulnerability in times of conflict as well as their particular needs stemming from their role as mothers and caregivers must be factored into conflict situations and peace negotiations. The exhibit opened in Geneva at the Palais des Nations under the auspices of the U.S. Mission to there UN. The 20 quilts traveled to Zurich, to UN headquarters in New York, to the Houston International Quilt Festival, and several other venues in North America.
In the summer of 2009, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, broadcast a challenge to quilters to help promote the important work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by creating quilts on the theme, “Making a Healthier World for our Children.” Quilters were invited to create quilts related to this theme highlighting the challenges in fighting these three pandemics. The 18 quilts in this exhibition come from quilters in the U.S., Canada, Geneva and the Sarajevo Quilters (from England, Malaysia, Cyprus, Finland, Egypt, Japan, Australia, Germany and the US). After Geneva, the exhibit traveled to eight major quilts shows in the U.S. from 2010 to 2012.