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Released August 10, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- The art of quilt making and the stories quilters tell have inspired an upcoming exhibition Aug. 12 through Oct. 2 at The University of Southern Mississippi's Museum of Art.

A twofold exhibition, "Voices in Cloth: Story Quilts" and "Crossroads Quilters" will feature works by nationally renowned artists Linda Freeman, Grace Matthews, and Faith Ringgold, along with several Mississippi quilt artists. An opening reception will be held from 4-6 p.m. Aug. 19 in the museum.

"Voices in Cloth," organized by L & S Video Productions of New York City, features 11 contemporary story quilts and two original oil paintings inspired by quilt making. Contributing artists include Freeman, organizer of the exhibition, Matthews, and Ringgold. This portion of the exhibition also features a full-color, 16-page catalog with essays by Lisa E. Farrington, a well-known expert on contemporary quilts.

"While Freeman and Matthews are well-known figures in quilting and artistic circles, Ringgold is among the most famous living American artists," said Dr. Tony Lewis, director of the Southern Miss museum. "She is a New Jersey-based painter, mixed-media sculptor, performance artist, and writer."

Crossroads Quilters, winners of the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2002, is a group of women, mostly African-American, who display and sell their one-of-a-kind, handmade quilts through Mississippi Cultural Crossroads in Port Gibson.

Together, they celebrate the traditional quilting heritage of their community, while creating educational and economic opportunities for its citizens.

The exhibition will include 17 quilts using improvisation, bright colors, and bold designs to create the visual impact of "Crossroads Quilters."

According to the group's Web site, each quilter "is a craftsperson in her own right, making the myriad decisions about material, design, color, technique, and spirit that mark each quilt as the unique product of a vision that is both individual and shared."

Many quilts are wholly the work of a single craftsperson, while others are of a more collaborative effort. Regardless, each quilt is unique, yet part of a shared culture of utility, beauty, and pride in craft.

"They work from their imagination, their dreams, their everyday experiences, and sometimes with traditional quilt patterns, to create their unique visual statement," Lewis explained. "Techniques of appliqué, embroidery, piecing and quilting are all used and shared."

Crossroads Quilters' quilts have been featured in "American Craft," the "Quilt Encyclopedia Illustrated," and many other publications. These quilts have been exhibited at the American Folklife Festival at the Smithsonian, the Anglo-American Art Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and many other galleries and museums in the United States.

The Southern Miss exhibition includes the work of Hystercine Rankin, Geraldine Nash, Essie Mae Buck, Gustina Atlas, Lorraine Harrington, and a work created cooperatively by the Crossroads Quilters. The Mississippi Arts Commission named Rankin, Atlas, and Nash master folk artists.

The Museum of Art at Southern Miss is located in the Fine Arts Building at the southwest corner of the campus. The hours are Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m-5 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. School and community group tours are welcome.

For more information or an appointment, call (601) 266-5200. For information about Crossroads Quilters, contact Patty Crosby at (601) 437-8905.


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September 1, 2004 1:55 PM