American Traditions Quilting Exhibit, Kuwait 1998
American Traditions Quilting Exhibit, Kuwait 1998

Our History

Founded by Allison and Dick Wilbur, Quilt for Change has its roots in a series of American quilt exhibits in Kuwait and Oman from 1998 to 2000. Dick was a Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassies in those countries and Allison was beginning to learn the art of quilting. The exhibits highlighted American quilting and needlework, displaying a side of American culture that resonated with audiences in the Middle East, where fine embroidery is a traditional art.

A posting at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva allowed for a new dimension in the exhibits – to use the art of quilting to raise awareness of global issues affecting women. The first U.N. exhibit, sponsored by the US Mission to the UN, partnered with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and opened in 2009 in Geneva. The exhibit then traveled across the U.S. in 2010, highlighting the good work of the Global Fund in combating these devastating diseases and U.S. leadership in funding the effort. The website quiltforchange.org was created to advertise this exhibit. In 2011, we partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. to create a quilt challenge exhibit on Women, Peace and Security, which opened in Geneva in 2011 and New York in 2012, toured in the U.S. with Mancuso Quilt Shows, and exhibited at the 2012 Houston International Quilt Show. The Solar Sister exhibit followed in 2013, and Water is Life opened in 2016.

Allison and Dick Wilbur at the Geneva opening of the first Quilt for Change exhibit November 2009.  Eric Bridiers photo
Allison and Dick Wilbur at the Geneva opening of the first Quilt for Change exhibit. Eric Bridiers photo

Allison and Dick Wilbur

Allison Wilbur is an award winning longarm quilter and quilt artist. Decades of living overseas in Japan, Russia, Tunisia, Kuwait, Oman and Switzerland, and travel to many other countries has added elements of textiles, color combinations, and design elements from other cultures. Often these elements are paired with traditional American piecing to create collaborative work that celebrates the international language of fiber shared by women in so many cultures around the world. Wilbur lectures on textiles from around the world,  quilting techniques, and art quilting to regional quilt guilds. Her  work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, the New England Quilt Museum, in major national quilt festivals, art galleries and museums. To learn more about Allison, visit her website, AllisonWilburQuilts.com

Dick Wilbur is a retired Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He has been posted in Tunisia, Kuwait, Oman, at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. In Washington, he served in the Office of Oceans Affairs, the International Organizations Bureau, and the Bureau of International Information Programs.  As a Public Diplomacy Officer, his career focused on sharing American culture, history, values and education, and explaining U.S. foreign policy to audiences around the world. Dick now works at the Naval War College in Rhode Island and is an adjunct professor at local colleges and universities.  

The Quilt Artists

We are grateful to all the amazing fiber artists who participate in our challenges. It is their creativity and their voices that bring these challenging topics to life. Many are members of the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA). If you would like to take part in our next quilt challenge, please follow us on our blog and on Facebook and Twitter for announcements of upcoming challenges.  

Eric Bridiers, photographer with the US Mission tot he UN Geneva Photo by Dominic

Our Partners

The United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva has been instrumental to the creation and continued success of Quilt for Change and we are eternally grateful to them for their support. From the beginning the staff has been supportive, creative and enthusiastic in our mission to use quilts to empower women artists to push for social change.

Our many other partners including exhibition venues and topical partners enrich our mission in countless ways. Thank you to all our partners!

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria


Solar Sister

The Advocacy Project

Mancuso Quilt Festivals

Human Rights Gallery, Kean University

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