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Stitching Together a Community in the Arts

Take a look at the vibrant quilt created by Wallace’s 18 arts grantees and learn more about the meaning behind it
January 23, 2024 2 Min Read
quilt

When representatives of the arts organizations at the center of a major Wallace arts initiative gathered in Los Angeles recently, the word “community” was very much on their minds. Afterall, they were attending one of the foundation’s signature “peer learning community” meetings, in which grantees get to know one another and exchange ideas. Plus, each of the grantees—together a group of 18 arts organizations founded by, with, and for communities of color—is deeply committed to the community it serves.

So, leave it to the artists to come up with the perfect canvas on which to express the idea of community: a quilt. 

With the assistance of two community artists from one of the organizations, Self-Help Graphics & Art, a printmaking organization that focuses on work by artists of Mexican and Latin American heritage, the 18 grantees, along with Wallace, designed and crafted the quilt you see in the photo on this page. Each organization contributed a square that depicted its mission, values, people, and aspirations.

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quilt

The quilt stitches together these widely varying visions, signifying the connections between the organizations and the diverse communities the grantees serve. The result is a vibrant tapestry that reflects the grantees as a whole and their work in each of their respective communities. 

“Quilting is a tradition that comes from many cultures, primarily communities of color,” says Bahia Ramos, Wallace’s vice president of the arts. “I think the artists wanted to use that as a symbol of history and the significant point of coming together and becoming a family or cohort.” 

Ramos notes the importance of the peer learning communities as not just an opportunity to learn, but to also build community.  “It's important as an arts unit to do creative things together, and make things, and be visual with each other,” she says.

The quilt is hanging in Wallace’s office, where staff members and visitors can enjoy it.

“We want our space to reflect the work that we do, and it’s a great symbol of new work and a new journey we’re embarking on,” says Ramos. “To have it be front and center means a lot to my team and to the grantees.”

The arts grantees will come together again this spring for another peer learning community in Puerto Rico. To learn more about the initiative and the grantees, click here

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