By Anna-Maria Kretzer
I love quilts and quilting practices, and I am always looking for new ways to exhibit them. It is important to show people that quilts are more than covers or objects to be hung on gallery walls; they are often an index of relationships and social networks. That is why I got really, really excited when I heard that NedRa Bonds, my favorite Kansas City artist, and her friend Nancy Dawson were collaborating on a project with school children from Kansas City, Kansas. In fact, I was so excited that I was inspired to organize an exhibit in support of their endeavor.
The exhibition, titled Quilted Friendship: The Art of NedRa Bonds and Nancy Dawson, will be available for viewing from November 3 to December 15 on the first floor of the Miller Nichols Library. Three of the quilts in the exhibition are actually part of the Hero Quilt Project. They feature drawings of local heroes chosen from a list Bonds has been taking to schools in KC, KS. The idea is to teach the students there about local heroes so that they will have healthy role models. After the children learn about local heroes they have the opportunity to make drawings of their favorite heroes which Bonds then transfers to cloth so that they can be made into quilts.
In the final phase of the Hero Quilt Project Nancy Dawson and other members of her acting group will incorporate the Hero Quilts into a performance of If Da Dirt Could Talk at the Juneteenth 2014 festivities at the Old Quindaro Cemetery. There will be photographs of past performances in Quilted Friendship showing how the Hero Quilts will be used. The play, written by Dawson, recounts the life of one of her favorite heroes, Elizabeth Thompson. Thompson was a slave who ran to the free state of Kansas before the Civil War. She spent the rest of her life in Quindaro and raised a family; Dawson is also her granddaughter.
Quilted Friendship is a chance for people to learn about The Hero Quilt Project, as well as an opportunity for the children who have participated in the project to see their artwork in an exhibition right alongside the work of professional artists. In addition to the Hero Quilts that have already been completed, the exhibition will include quilts made individually by Bonds and Dawson. The opening reception will be Sunday November 3 from 3-5pm at the Miller Nichols Library on the UMKC Volker Campus. Please come and tell any quilt-lovers you know about it too!
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.
Donated by: NedRa Bonds
By Brenda Bethman
In anticipation of our upcoming 40th Anniversary Gala, we made a few videos. You can view the first one here and the second featuring NedRa Bonds is posted below:
- 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.