Friday, February 3, 2012

April 2012-January 2013, The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America; China Tour

A joint initiative of South Arts, Arts MidwestGreat Lakes Quilting Center, and the United States Embassy of Beijing, ChinaThe Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers from 21st-Century America will tour a selected group of venues in China September 2012-2014.  Here are images of the other 24 quilters' work on Flickr.

The exhibition will tour to six venues throughout China:
The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers from 21st-Century America is a program conceived and sponsored by the United States Embassy-Beijing. The exhibition and its tour throughout the People’s Republic of China has been jointly developed and managed by Arts Midwest and South Arts, with additional assistance from the Great Lakes Quilting Center at Michigan State University.

Partial funding provided by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Additional support from Alabama State Council on the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Iowa Arts Council, Kentucky Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Mississippi Arts Commission, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and South Dakota Arts Council.

The quilt of mine in the exhibit:
(2011, 93 x 93 inches, 2888 pieces)

March 22, 2012 update from South Arts on the exhibit:

The exhibit has been fully curated with all 25 quilts and artists selected. It really is an amazing array of talent that we’re very proud of. Many traditions and styles are represented.

We finally have an exhibit name that works in both English and Chinese: The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America.

The exhibit tour is still under development. Our colleagues at the US Embassy in Beijing are contacting museums in China and using their connections to secure the showings.

The start of the tour has been pushed back due to some unavoidable requirements from customs. The exhibit will now open early this fall, with the quilts themselves travelling to China in the summer. Currently the quilts are still in South Arts’ care, safely and securely awaiting that day.

July 10, 2012 update from South Arts on the exhibit:

Dear Artists, and Friends and Family of Artists-

We wanted to give you an update on the exhibit, The Sum of Many Parts. The biggest news is that the first venue has been selected! The exhibit will open September 7, 2012 at the Shanghai Museum of Textile and Costume at Donghua University in Shanghai. It is a beautiful Museum that will be perfect for displaying your works. As the rest of the tour is finalized, we will keep you posted about additional dates and locations.

The quilts have been packed away and are ready to ship. We are sending them off in the beginning of August to the US consulate in Shanghai. This will give her ample time to handle any unforeseen issues with customs before the museum has to install the show.

The catalog is near completion.

             July 12, 2012

Two days after my 45th birthday, I received an invitation from South Arts to represent the Midwest for The Sum of Many Parts in Shanghai, China.  Louisiana Bendolph, a quilter of the Gees Bend (Alabama) quilt collective represented the South.  Our delegation included the exhibit's co-curators Teresa Hollingsworth and Katy Malone (both South Arts), Board President Margaret Mertz (South Arts), Matt Arnett (Curator -Tinwood, Atlanta, Georgia).  We left from Detroit, Michigan on Sep 4th and returned to the US on Sep 14th.  Once in Shanghai, we were met and greatly assisted by David Fraher (Arts Midwest - Minneapolis, MN) as well as Cultural Affairs staff from the US Embassy (Beijing) and the US Consulate (Shanghai). While in China, we presented numerous educational programs and did some sight-seeing along the way.  Needless to say, this was the experience of a lifetime and a tremendous honor.  There's no way to capture the breadth or depth of the experience here.  I am hoping the following photos (in no particular order) will at least provide some sense of the trip.  Enjoy...

            January 9, 2013 update from co-curator Katy Malone of South Arts:

The exhibit left its second venue - the Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, China—in December.  The Embassy reported that 30,000 people saw the exhibition while there.  The senior advisor on the exhibit, Marsha McDowell, travelled to China with her colleagues during this leg of the exhibit to present on the show’s behalf. She provided us with this report:

The exhibition looked beautiful at Yunnan Nationalities Museum (YNM) – they really took a lot of care and their area for the installation really suited the display of quilts.
As one of the activities staff prepared a table-top display of quilts and quilted and/or patchwork textiles from their collection. Unfortunately it was in a room that was really hard to photograph in.

Mary Worrall, Lynne Swanson, and Kurt McDowell, and I all gave PowerPoint presentations to a group of about 30 which included YNM staff and invited locals who were interested in museums and/or in textiles. Kurt and Lynne focused their presentations on museum practices as part of the Asian Cultural Council-funded museum staff exchange; Mary and I did presentations on quilts. Then we also had a chance to do a short "walkabout" in the Sum of Many Parts exhibition and YNM staff conducted a tour of their textile collections storage area and showed us their computerized collection management database system.
All of our activities at YNM were unexpectedly condensed into a day and a half as the YNM crew thought it very, very important that we get a sense of important local cultural and natural features to gain a better understanding of the region. Hence, we visited a historical park and a historic street district in Kunming, took a side trip to the Stone Forest, and ate very, very well at different restaurants. All in all, we formed friendships that we know will help us continue to work together.

A few days ago the exhibit opened at its third location, the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities in Nanning.  Quilter Carole Harris travelled to Nanning on behalf of Arts Midwest to do educational programming for the show. 

This marks the half way point of the tour.  There are three more venues left.

photos courtesy of the US Embassy, Beijing, China


Here is a link to Artisan Ancestors and a great podcast of Teresa Hollingworth and Katy Malone, co-curators, talking about The Sum of Many Parts exhibit recorded post-trip to Shanghai, September 2012.