Advocacy Quilting Comes to the New England Quilt Museum

by Dick Wilbur on April 1, 2015

When it rains, it pours and, in New England, when it snows, well, it dumps on you.  We’ve had quite our fill of snow this winter here in Rhode Island, and have waited patiently (sometimes not so) for Spring to arrive.  What’s helped us through the winter has been settling into a new house, (finally) selling our old house, adjusting to my recent retirement from the State Department, time spent with the kids over the holidays, and the excitement of a terrific new quilt exhibit to hang and open on March 21 in Lowell, MA at the New England Quilt Museum.

Advocacy Quilting: Inspiring Social Change runs through May 3 and showcases quilts from all three Quilt for Change exhibits to date (with a big shout-out to Corinne Beque, who mailed her quilt made for the Global Fund challenge all the way from Switzerland!)  Partnering with The Advocacy Project, a Washington-based human rights non-profit that uses quilting to showcase the plight of marginalized groups around the world, we were able to put together a powerful exhibit that showcases the ability of quilts and quilters to advocate for social change and support worthwhile charity causes.  While supporting charities is not new to quilters, what this exhibit demonstrates is that the talents and care quilters put into their quilting, day in and day out, can have a tangible impact on an individual and group level to the people who receive or view these quilts.  On Thursday, April 2, Allison will lead a brown bag lunchtime discussion at the museum

From Left: Dick and Allison Wilbur, Quilt for Change; Iain Guest, Director of The Advocacy Project; NEQM Executive Director Nora Burchfield; and NEQM Exhibits Curator Pam Weeks

on charity quilting in the U.S., looking at the history of quilters making quilts for loved ones, community groups and good causes, and providing suggestions for ways quilters and quilt guilds can use their energies and talents in support of charitable causes.

As a qusband I have been lucky all throughout my marriage to witness the power of Allison’s quilting to reach people, educate audiences and advocate for social change.  I have even seen what a profound effect doing so has on her as a person and an artist.  We founded Quilt for Change because we believe in the tremendous potential quilts and quilters possess to affect change in subtle and often not so subtle ways.  If you’re able to visit Lowell between now and May 3, I hope you’ll do so.  The quilts on display are a powerful testimony to how quilts can tell a story and, hopefully, change hearts.



Our thanks go to Nora Burchfield, director of the New England Quilt Museum, the staff of the museum, and especially to Pam Weeks, curator and baker extraordinaire.



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