As the song goes, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!” In early May 2020, when we were all working from home, EQ had a Zoom-staff meeting. Someone mentioned that the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA), about 20 miles north of EQ’s headquarters in Bowling Green, OH, was opening an exhibit in the fall featuring quilts. Being a native of Bowling Green (aka, BG), I reached out to Todd Ahrens, Director of Development for the museum, and also an active member of the BG community. I introduced myself, mentioned possible personal connections we have, and also suggested the potential for 2 great Ohio institutions to work together. Todd’s response was terrific and he was gung-ho to figure out how we could collaborate.
A couple weeks later over Zoom, members of EQ and TMA met and talked about the exhibit, Radical Tradition: Amercian Quilts and Social Change. We discovered, as part of the exhibit, they were having a Covid-19 Virtual Quilting Bee. The museum’s Virtual Quilting Bee put out an open call to communities near and far requesting they create blocks that “represent the current pandemic, which marks a moment of change and uncertainty on a global scale,” and submit photos of those blocks. What a creative idea to bring people together even though we can’t physically be together! Since that’s what EQ software does, design virtual quilts, it was agreed that we would “stitch” together the submitted blocks to create different quilts. Once we received the almost 100 block photos, we designed the quilts based on theme, color, and one incorporating the majority of submissions.
You can see them all here.
The exhibit officially opened on Saturday, November 21, 2020. However, being a sponsor, we were invited for a sneak peek! As it turned out, other sponsors were not able to attend, so my plus one (aka, my wonderful husband, Kevin) and I got a private tour from the extraordinary curator of the exhibit herself, Lauren Applebaum!!
What an honor it was for us to see these incredible quilts and hear the amazing stories! Here are some pictures of us by these stunning quilts, taken by the Museum’s fabulous Megan Stone, Corporate Development Officer.
“The Storm, the Whirlwind, and the Earthquake” by Bisa Butler
Lauren, Diane (me!), and Kevin in front of “Portrait of a Textile Worker” by Terese Agnew
“Stand Your Ground” by Jeffrey Gibson
The exhibit is open for another 3 1/2 weeks, so if you have the opportunity, check out this remarkable exhibit! Specifically, it closes on Feb. 14, 2021, so it would make a perfect Valentine’s-day date! ❤️