Vibrant Art is Alive in Paducah, Kentucky
by Amy Lignor
Everyone has seen a quilt, but many do not understand that these are literal works of art. Some are handed down from generation to generation; some provide a patchwork of pictures that cover all aspects of one’s life. There are quilts in the world that represent entire families and date back to their own “crossing” to the United States; quilts that represent a time when they came to this country in order to be a part of the “patchwork quilt” of diverse people who made America great. There are even those who have taken the time to learn this art form, and are now able to create absolute masterpieces that all have the opportunity to view. That is where the lovely state of Kentucky comes into play.
Art is protected. Works are housed in many locations across the globe where people can walk through enormous, exquisite buildings and simply stare up at masterpieces decorating the gilded walls. But there are other art forms not given the “glory” they rightfully deserve. When speaking about quilts, however, we can all be thankful that in Paducah, Kentucky there’s a museum that has not only kept the craft of quilting alive to support quilters, but also advances the art of quilting by displaying exceptional quilt and fiber art exhibits.
It is the 25th year that the National Quilting Museum has been a part of this nation, and all should note the vast number of resources it provides. From workshops to educational opportunities, the National Quilting Museum plays a hugely significant role in the art community as a whole. Every year visitors from all fifty states, as well as over 40 countries thus far, come to Paducah, Kentucky to enjoy the National Quilting Museum. Both onsite and travelling exhibits are actually viewed by over 110,000 people per year, with over 6,000 youth and adults participating in the programs NQM offers.
It was Bill and Meredith Schroeder of Paducah that began this extraordinary museum. Being quilting enthusiasts, their goal was to build a place where people could both admire and celebrate the art of quilting, especially those who had not been able to experience this particular art form in the past. This couple chose to build their dream in Paducah in order to give back to their own community. In the end, their hard work and love of quilting turned into a $2.2 million facility (the largest facility in the world dedicated to quilting) built just two blocks from the Ohio River in historic downtown Paducah.
The collection has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. The day the facility opened just 85 quilts were able to be seen. Now that collection has grown exponentially – over 500 works of art can be viewed. With exhibits changing many times over the year, visitors are always able to enjoy a unique experience every time they visit. The Museum’s popularity continues to expand, which has allowed the educational programs it provides to expand just as fast.
Participants of all ages come from all over the world, with some of the most recognized quilters holding workshops in Paducah. As part of the youth educational programs, the Museum offers all kids the chance to use their creativity and learn basic skills about this art form and the community of quilters that continues to balloon in size.
Three galleries of extraordinary quilt and fiber art can be seen in this museum that is among the highest rated tourism destinations (TripAdvisor), and has even won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence four consecutive years. Not to mention, with the never-ending menu of programs for kids (Quilt Camp, Kidz Day in the Arts, Junior Quilters, and Textile Artists Club) the Museum has been able to add to the art programs of many schools during a time where budget reductions have caused cuts to the most creative course children truly want.
The National Quilting Museum is most definitely on a mission to introduce the work of today’s quilters to new audiences worldwide, while shining its brilliant light on the vibrant beauty that’s born from the art of quilting.
For more information about this amazing organization, head to www.quiltmuseum.org
Source: GIG News