Women’s Equity Quilt Project

Students working on their quilt squares.

This post originally appeared on the blog Quilts and Health, which is part of a quilt project of the same name that was started by the Michigan State University Museum and the MSU College of Human Medicine. Written by Beth Donaldson, who works as a Collections Assistant at the MSU Museum in East Lansing, MI.

Nedra Bonds, textile artist, and Arzie Umali, Assistant Director, UMKC Women’s Center, are in the process of cataloging over 100 quilt squares and their stories. They are preparing for the Opening Reception of the Women’s Equity Quilt Project display  (February 2 – April 13, 2012) at the Miller Nichols Library, University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Women’s Equity Quilt is a community project to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UMKC Women’s Center. Bonds led quilt workshops in the spring and summer of 2011  where students and community members got the opportunity to express their feelings on women’s issues by making a quilt square. Skill levels ranged from first time stitchers to advanced quilt makers. Each participant was encouraged to make 2 squares, one for the Women’s Center and one to keep themselves. Every quilt square represented its own unique story.

For more information on the equity quilt go here.

Silent Auction: “Peace at Sunrise” Quilt by NedRa Bonds

At the 40th Anniversary Galacoming up on April 20, guests will have the opportunity to bid on some amazing items at the silent auction. This is one of a series of posts highlighting the items that have been donated. Be sure to check back frequently as we will update the blog as new items come in. Make a note of your favorites and be ready to bid on April 20! For a complete list of items, please see our Silent Auction webpage.

This beautiful, fine art quilt measures 34″ x 32″ and was especially made by local artist NedRa Bonds to be auctioned at the 40th Anniversary Gala. A fiber artist specializing in quilts, dolls, and soft sculpture, Bonds has exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally for over three decades. Her resume includes classes taught in university settings, inclusions in national publications featuring African American quilters, and travels abroad working with organizations focusing on women’s issues.  Her works can be found in collections at the American Jazz Museum, Sprint, H&R Block and St. Luke’s Women’s Center. In 2011, she was awarded an Inspiration Grant by the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City to facilitate quilt workshops at UMKC. Bonds took the pieces made during these workshops and created the Women’s Equity Quilt, which she formally dedicated to the UMKC Women’s Center in November 2011 to commemorate its 40th Anniversary.

Value:  $750

Donated by: NedRa Bonds

Join Us for Nedra Bonds’ Quilt Camp!

Looking for something to do this summer? Stop by the UMKC Women’s Center and become part of the Women’s Center forever! Under the guidance of local textile artist Nedra Bonds, you will create a 12×12” quilt square that will become part of the Women’s Equity Quilt and permanently installed in the Women’s Center in honor of its 40th Anniversary. No sewing skills necessary. Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited. Reservations are encouraged.

When: Every Thursday, 1 – 5 p.m.; June 9 – July 28

Where: UMKC Women’s Center, 105 Haag Hall, 5120 Rockhill Road, KCMO

Cost: Free; but donations are welcome to support the Women’s Equity Quilt Project. Donations of $20 ($10 for students) will allow participant to create a second quilt square that they can keep

For more information or to reserve a spot, contact Patsy Campos at umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu or 816-235-1638.

Co-sponsored by the Her Art Project, the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, and the ArtsKC Fund.

Cross-posted on the UMKC Women’s & Gender Studies Program blog.

5 Black Artists Bringing Excellence to the KC Art Scene

By: Emma Sauer

Kansas City has more to offer than barbecue and sports teams. This is a thriving city teeming with talent, innovation, and excellence, and the city owes much of that to the Black community. From the American Jazz Museum to the AAAC (African American Arts Collective), Black artists have an established presence in Kansas City. Here’s a list (in no particular order) of five Black creators who make incredible art.

Meeks Me Smile Studio

@meeksmesmilestudio Instagram

Shawanna Meeks founded Meeks Me Smile to offer unique, and stylish handbags. One night while getting dressed for a night out with her friends, she realized she didn’t have the right handbag to match her fun night. So, she made her own. The shop offers small accessories, wallets,  clutch bags, totes, handbags, and more–all with cute and colorful prints. Considering these bags are all handmade, they’re marked at a remarkably affordable price. Costs range from $15 to $155 (not including shipping). Meeks Me Smile Studio also dabbles in furniture design and acrylic paintings.

Sonia Sanchez

Source: Creative Commons, John Mathew Smith, https://www.flickr.com/people/36277035@N06

Sonia Sanchez is a poet, playwright, author, and activist. A major influence in the Black arts movement, she’s received both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award. Her poetry is known for its mixing of musical elements and traditional poetry. Through her poems she celebrates the art of Black English. Sonia Sanchez’s 16 books have moved readers since her first collection of poems, Homecoming, in 1969. Not much of her poetry is free to read online, but you can check out her books at your local library or purchase them.

Arie Monroe

“Block and Delete”, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

If you like comics or pop art, you’ll love Arie Monroe’s colorful and expressive art. Her comic Tornado Alley, starring Mainasha and her cat Socks, is a wacky take on the Wizard of Oz, but it’s also been a way for Monroe to to communicate her struggles as a black woman, according to her caption statement on “Block and Delete”, a piece currently on display in the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. She also specializes in caricature art. On Redbubble, she has merch available featuring caricatures, the Tornado Alley crew, and other illustrations.

Whitney Manney

@WhitneyManney Instagram

Whitney Manney is both a fashion designer and her independent ethical fashion label of the same name. WM’s clothes are bold, taking inspiration from street art and urban culture. Whitney Manney aims to make clothes that are more than clothes; they make ready-to-wear wearable art. As for the artist herself, she’s showcased her work at over a dozen galleries and runway shows, including the UMKC Gallery of Art. She’s also done teaching partnerships with the HALO foundation (a foundation dedicated to helping homeless KC youth), and other schools around the area.

NedRa Bonds

Image Source: Connie Fiorella Fitzpatrick, Creative Commons

NedRa Bonds is an activist, quilt artist, and retired teacher in Kansas City, Kansas. Her vibrant, collage-like quilts often make strong statements about the social issues she’s passionate about. Her artwork has been directly inspired by issues of human rights, social justice, race, and environmentalism, to name a few. Bonds also often incorporates elements of satire and political commentary into her art, echoing her principles as an activist. She’s made over 100 quilts since 1989, many that have been shown at different art shows and exhibits in KC. If you’ve spent some time at the Women’s Center, her art may look familiar: for the Women’s Center’s 40th anniversary, she led the creation of our Women’s Equity Quilt!





40th Anniversary


Founded in 1971 as the Women’s Resource Service in the Division of Continuing Education, the UMKC Women’s Center is one of the oldest campus-based women’s centers in the U.S. and the second oldest in the Midwest. In 2011-12, the Center celebrated 40 years of service to the women and men of UMKC and the Kansas City community in a variety of ways.

40th Anniversary Projects

Trailblazers’ Blend: The Women’s Center worked with local Kansas City coffee roaster The Roasterie todesign a custom blend for the 40th Anniversary.

Women’s Equity Quilt: Over 100 Kansas City community members, UMKC students, faculty, and staff participated in the creation of the Women’s Equity Quilt. Led by fiber artist Nedra Bonds, each participant created a square for the quilt. The final quilt was finished by local quilter Sheryl Schleicher.

“So Beautiful” Song: The Women’s Center commissioned local singer/songwriter Barclay Martin to write a song in honor of the 40th Anniversary. The song was recorded at UMKC by the Barclay Martin Ensemble and premiered at the Gala in April 2012.

40th Anniversary Events

Quilting Workshops and Camps, Spring and Summer 2011 – spring workshops and summer camps were led by local textile artist Nedra Bonds. Participants made squares representing a personal story of women’s equity for the Women’s Equity Quilt.

Open House / Quilts on the Quad, October 2011 – the Open House kicked off the 40th Anniversary, while Quilts on the Quad was an outdoor art installation featuring over 200 quilts created by local quilt artists and members of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.

Lecture: “Quilts That Changed the World: Women, Movements, Healing, and Art” by Dr. Nancy Dawson, Quilt Artist & Professor of Africana Studies, November 2011 – Visiting speaker Dr. Nancy Dawson discussed the intersection of quilting, activism, and community-building using examples from the work of local textile artist Nedra Bonds.

Women’s Equity Quilt Dedication, November 2011 – The finished Women’s Equity Quilt was unveiled and formally dedicated to the Women’s Center by Nedra Bonds at a reception at the new Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.

Exhibit Opening: “Stitches: An Exhibit of Textiles by Nedra Bonds featuring the Women’s Equity Quilt,” February 2012 – this art exhibit featured the textile works of Nedra Bonds including the Women’sEquity Quilt. The opening reception included a play inspired by the quilt written by local playwright and UMKC alumna Kathleen Shaw and produced by the UMKC Dept. of Theater and UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Vanguards & Visionaries Reception, March 2012– this reception honored the past leadership of the UMKC Women’s Center at the opening of the exhibit Vanguards and Visionaries which featured local women artists who helped shape the visual arts of Kansas City over the past four decades.

Gala, April 2012 – the Gala featured the Barclay Martin Ensemble, who premiered the song “So Beautiful,” as well as a silent auction and a very popular photo booth. More than 200 people attended and $47,780 was raised to benefit the Women’s Center.

‘Stitches’ Opening Reception This Evening

By Sarah L. Jensen
Good morning supporters and fans of the Women’s Center! We hope you will be joining us for the “Stitches” opening reception this evening: February 2, 5:30pm at Miller Nichols Library, Dean’s Gallery, 2nd Floor, 800 East 51st St. The exhibit will be featuring textile artist NedRa Bonds and the Women’s Equity Quilt. Also, for your viewing pleasure, there will be a performance of Stitches: Some Stories About L.I.F.E. written by UMKC alumn Kathleen Shaw. To register and see additional event details visit our calendar page: http://www.umkc.edu/womenc/events/calendar.asp
For further information or with questions contact the Women’s Center at 816.235.1638 or umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu