About 2 years ago I thought it might be a good idea to organize a quilt festival in Memphis. There are quilt shows in Memphis. They show traditional quilts with exquisite stitching. I love seeing that work.
I had a different idea. I thought I could assemble enough quilters, artists and makers to present quilting as an art form. There are art quilters out there (though not many in Memphis) and there are artists in Memphis (though not too excited about quilting) but I persevered.
Memphis has an incredible new venue. It is a completely renovated warehouse called Crosstown Concourse that stood vacant for almost 20 years. A group of visionaries put together the money and expertise to transform the blighted space into a community of businesses, art galleries, restaurants, shops and a high school. They built a black-box theater, sculpted the parking lots into welcoming community spaces, worked with local stakeholders to build a community and transformed our ideas about what can be possible. All this with the vision of helping to cultivate the creative arts community in Memphis (read their story here). How cool is that?
And now they are hosting Stitched.
Stitched includes two quilt shows, Masterworks: Abstract and Geometric from SAQA and the BLUE show, a regional call for entry for quilters, artists and makers. We have planned two community workshops, one focused on children by Amie Plumley and one on community members by Maria Shell. Martha Sielman, author, curator and Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc. (SAQA) is coming in for a lecture on May 11. Because of some dedicated and inspiring volunteers students at Crosstown High and elementary students at the Carpenter Art Garden are learning to quilt. And, on June 8 we are hosting the community Show-and-Tell event where anyone can bring a quilt to share on stage with an audience of quilting fans.
Make some plans to get to Memphis this year. From May - July the focus is on the Art of quilting. The azaleas bloom in May and I’d love to show you around.