It’s unbelievable that there are only 7 days left in January! This first month of 2018 is flying by at warp speed!
This Saturday, January 27th is your last chance to see an exquisite exhibit of fine art. It’s had wonderful attendance and we even sold a piece of artwork, so, for a little neighborhood art gallery, that is considered successful! Thanks to everyone who helped make it so!
And, you might be asking … “What’s next?”
We are extraordinarily excited about our February exhibit! We will be administering our first Creative Investment Program grant from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council, with a celebration of Black History Month as we present “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend | The Fabric of Their Lives!” These amazing quilts, all from a private collector, reflect a quilting tradition in Gee’s Bend that may go back as far as the early 1800s, when the community was the site of a cotton plantation owned by a Joseph Gee. Influenced, perhaps, by the patterned textiles of Africa, the women slaves began piecing strips of cloth together to make bed covers. Throughout the post-bellum years of tenant farming and well into the 20th century, Gee’s Bend women made quilts to keep themselves and their children warm in unheated shacks that lacked running water, telephones and electricity. Along the way they developed a distinctive style, noted for its lively improvisations and geometric simplicity. Little did they know they would become famous in the 21st Century!
“Discovered” in 1998, the first exhibition of their quilts was held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2002 and traveled to other museums around the country, including the National Museum in Washington, D.C. Approximately ten years ago, there was an exhibit of these amazing works of art at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, and, we’ve been told it was well received by the community. Well … of course, it was!!!
There is something unique about these quilts that puts them in a category all their own. These are not canvases hanging on a wall, not at all. Yet, they become canvases hanging on a wall and we look at them, awed by their color and craftsmanship.
Gee’s Bend Quilts are not perfectly symmetrical and they aren’t matchy-matchy like many of the quilts we might be familiar with from childhood. Yet, it may well be this very quality of imperfection that gives them their authenticity; their one-of-a-kind character gives them an appeal that wraps the viewer in the warmth of their cultural message and, perhaps, leads them to value things that are handmade, different from the mass produced Wal-Mart world we live in today. Yes, they are useful. More importantly, they are beautiful in the stories they tell.
There is much information available on the world wide web about the quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Our current favorite story is located here, on the Smithsonian Magazine web site. Mark your calendars for Thursday, Friday and Saturday from February 3 to March 10 and plan a visit to see the Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Bring a friend or two or three. It’s free. And, we’ll be so happy to see you again or meet you for the first time!