Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt
Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Search this
James Deutsch, Guy Hemrick, Brian Holman, Anthony Knight, Nadine Licostie, Marsha MacDowell, Katherine Ott, Julie Rhoad, Mike Smith, Jeff Stott, Nomvula Mashoai-Cook, David Gere, Annie Groeber, Jada Harris, Teresa Hollingsworth, Linda Rethman
The year 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of The AIDS Memorial Quilt and 30 years of life with AIDS. With the introduction of The Quilt in 1987, The NAMES Project Foundation redefined the tradition of quilt making in response to contemporary circumstances. Through hands-on panel-making activities, individuals and communities have come together to remember loved ones, grieve, find support and strength, and engage in dialogues for change.
In 2012, The Quilt contained nearly 48,000 panels, and it had been viewed by more than 18 million people. It is much more than pieced-together fabric squares: it is a moving and monumental creative collaboration; it is a catalyst to remember, understand, educate, and act.
The 2012 Festival program featured the remarkable artistry, inspiration, and impact of The AIDS Memorial Quilt and provided the public with an unparalleled opportunity to experience this highly charged symbol of the AIDS crisis and the largest community art project in the world. It was the first Festival program to focus exclusively on community craft and performance directly developed in response to crisis and grief. With The AIDS Memorial Quilt as the anchor and through craft demonstrations, dance and musical performances, interactive discussions, and other activities, this program commemorated the innovative and resourceful ways through which communities have endeavored to educate people and to cope with one of the most complex pandemics in modern history.
The Festival brought together approximately 100 visual artists, designers, quilters, dancers, musicians, community activists, and others who shared the knowledge and creativity that shape their efforts to disseminate the message of the AIDS crisis. Quilt panel-making groups demonstrated and taught a variety of traditional quilting techniques. Volunteers and staff from The NAMES Project Foundation performed the rituals surrounding new panels and Quilt displays. The program also featured other artistic responses to the AIDS crisis from the United States and South Africa, and presented moderated conversations with project contributors, community leaders, and pioneers. Festival venues served as sites for sharing and documenting visitors' personal stories and creative expressions related to living in the age of HIV and AIDS.
Visitors of all ages had the opportunity to learn quilting techniques, make panels, and share stories from their own experiences. Sections of The Quilt were displayed throughout the Festival site, incorporated into the various demonstration and performance venues, and laid out on the National Mall - reinforcing The Quilt's size, visual impact, and the scale and diversity of people impacted by HIV and AIDS.
Arlene Reiniger was Curator and Anna Kaplan was Program Coordinator. The NAMES Project Foundation team included: Julie Rhoad, Jim Marks, Roddy Williams, Gert McMullin, Jada Harris, Chili Crane, Brian Holman, and Ritchie Crownfield.
Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding The AIDS Memorial Quilt program at the 2012 Festival was a partnership between the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and The NAMES Project Foundation, with the support and participation of many others.
David H. Bell, 1949-, writer and director, The NAMES Performers, Evanston, Illinois
Mary Bowman, 1988-, spoken word artist, Suitland, Maryland
J.T. Bullock, 1980-, spoken word artist, Silver Spring, Maryland
Reginald Cabico, 1970-, spoken word artist, Washington, D.C.
Jostina Nomvula Mashoai-Cook, 1952-, Observatory-Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
William R. Crownfield, Jr., 1959-, Atlanta, Georgia
Ryan Garson, 1991-, La Crosse, Wisconsin
Annie Groeber, New York, New York
Teresa Hollingsworth, 1968-, Atlanta, Georgia
Stephen Keen, 1956-, DJ, Berkeley, California
Dwayne Lawson-Brown, spoken word artist, Community Outreach Coordinator for Metro Teen AIDS, Washington, D.C.
Dale MacDonald, 1958-, Palo Alto, California
Sherry Moore, 1956-, Desert Hot Springs, California
Linda Rethman, 1958-, Berea, Durban, South Africa
Kelly Rivera Hart, San Francisco, California
Lili Romero De Simone
Sonya Renee, 1976-, spoken word artist, Baltimore, Maryland
The NAMES Performers, Performance Group A – Green -- The NAMES Performers, Performance Group A – GreenGeoffrey Button, 1976-, Evanston, IllinoisRobert Deason, 1984-, Chicago, IllinoisJessica Paige Kahkoska, 1991-, Evanston, IllinoisNathaniel Lewellyn, 1988-, Milwaukee, WisconsinPatrick Martin, 1977-, Chicago, IllinoisBrad Raymond, 1977-, Newnan, GeorgiaBethany Thomas, 1982-, Chicago, Illinois
The NAMES Performers, Performance Group B - Blue -- The NAMES Performers, Performance Group B - BlueBrian J. Bohr, 1990-, Wheaton, IllinoisCarly Cantor, 1990-, Cincinnati, OhioEvelyn Jacoby, 1990-, Maplewood, New JerseyEmily Maltby, 1990-, New York, New YorkJevares Myrick, 1985-, Powder Springs, GeorgiaLatrice Ann Pace, 1978-, Atlanta, GeorgiaPatrick Sulken, 1990-, Evanston, Illinois
The NAMES Project Foundation -- The NAMES Project FoundationCleve Edward Jones, 1954-, AIDS Memorial Quilt founder, San Francisco, CaliforniaMike Smith, The NAMES Project Foundation co-founder, San Francisco, CaliforniaJulie Rhoad, 1960-, Atlanta, GeorgiaJada Harris, 1966-, Atlanta, GeorgiaJames Marks, Jr., 1957-, Atlanta, Georgia
Digital Component -- Digital ComponentRosemary Comella, 1961-, Los Angeles, CaliforniaTisha Dejmanee, 1985-, Los Angeles, CaliforniaBrittany Farr, 1988-, Los Angeles, CaliforniaBridgette Kidd, 1967-, Los Angeles, California
2362 Market Street -- 2362 Market StreetPhillip Andrew Cockrell, Jr., 1960-, panel-making assistant, Atlanta, GeorgiaKarl Burten Gustafson, 1958-, panel-making assistant, Atlanta, GeorgiaRaymond Slater Kinlock, III, 1949-, panel maker, hand maiden/quilt repairer, Solebury, PennsylvaniaJon Lopez, 1957-, panel maker, hand maiden/quilt repairer, Palm Springs, CaliforniaRick McCormack, 1956-, hand maiden/quilt repairer, Springfield, MissouriCindy Ann McMullin, 1955-, quilt production manager, panel maker, Atlanta, GeorgiaAudrey Muldoon, 1952-, hand maiden/quilt repairer, Peachtree City, GeorgiaLawrence Pellino, 1952-, panel maker, Avondale Estates, Georgia
Common Threads -- Common ThreadsNokuphiwa Caroline Gedze, 1981-, embroiderer, Peddie, South AfricaDavid Gere, 1957-, co-curator, The A.R.T. Show, Los Angeles, CaliforniaUnathi Bulelwa Mtshemla-Meslane, 1974-, Keiskamma Trust, Peddie, South AfricaBeauty Ndlovu, 1960-, beaded doll maker, Cato Ridge, South AfricaLobolile Bhekiswephi Ximba, 1953-, beaded doll maker, Muden, South Africa
Healing Arts -- Healing ArtsTeena Cahill-Dyer, 1946-, director of Wisdom and Beyond LLC, Princeton, New JerseyOsayi Endolyn, 1982-, storyteller, writer, Atlanta, GeorgiaNondumiso Hlwele, 1974-, artist, activist, Cape Town, South AfricaWilliam F. Howard, 1953-, photographer, Atlanta, GeorgiaValerie Knight, 1952-, expressive arts psychologist, New York, New YorkDouglas Lothes, 1958-, spoken word artist, Palm Springs, CaliforniaSydney March, 1954-, writing workshop facilitator, Washington, D.C.Jane Solomon, 1963-, body map facilitator, Cape Town, South Africa
Remember Their Names -- Remember Their NamesDarin Arrowood, Atlanta, GeorgiaAnne Balsamo, Los Angeles, California
In Process… -- In Process…Adwoa Agyeman, Washington, D.C.Vanessa Crosson, 1953-, Upper Marlboro, MarylandPamela Rogers, 1942-, Capitol Heights, Maryland
Rock Creek Singers -- Rock Creek SingersGiuseppe DeBartolo, 1976-, Washington, D.C.Robert Dragoset, Germantown, MarylandAndrew Harmon, 1973-, Washington, D.C.Kyle Holland, 1980-, Hanover, MarylandGeorge Huffman, 1958-, Washington, D.C.David Jonas, 1966-, Washington, D.C.John Jowers, 1980-, Hyattsville, MarylandJack Reiffer, 1944-, Washington, D.C.Lyn Van Noy, 1954-, Arlington, Virginia
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Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
During an interview for a news segment on FOX News 5, Anacostia Museum Director Steven Newsome talked about the exhibition 'Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts' and African American quilt techniques; and a provided an explanation of story quilts. The news segment also included footage of the quilts which were on display throughout the exhibit.
News program. Related to exhibition 'Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts.' Dated 1993.
Biographical / Historical:
'Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts' displayed 27 quilts with photographs and related objects, and surveyed 200 years of black quiltmaking. The quilts, images and artifacts in the exhibit were presented within a dual framework of black history and quilt history. Profiled quiltmakers included Mary Bell Berry, Jessie Telfair, Dorothy Nelle Sanders, parents of school children at P.S. 48 in New York City, Michael Cummings, Carolyn Mazloomi, Lillian Beattie, Jim Smoote, and Carole Harris. The exhibition was organized by the Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc. in Louisville, Kentucky, and on display at the Anacostia Museum from July 15 to October 17, 1993.
Use of materials is restricted. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
An interview of Carolyn Mazloomi conducted 2002 September 17 and 30, by Joanne Cubbs, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in West Chester, Ohio. Mazloomi speaks of growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a family of self-taught artists; the positive influence of her aunt and teacher Dr. Carter; the generation of African American quilt-makers who followed a gap in quilt-making post-slavery; she describes her previous career as an aeronautical engineer and her transition to quilt-making; how she identifies herself as a craftsperson, not an artist; her experience with Baltimore album and Appalachian quilts; learning to quilt; the Women of Color Quilter's Network and its economic and social development programs; her book, "Spirits of the Cloth"; the positive and negative aspects of travel; the false generalizations of African American quilts in academic circles; the importance of gender, race, and ethnicity in her work; her connection to "praise songs"; she discusses functional vs. nonfunctional quilts; the market for "hand-crafted" quilts; agents and galleries; she describes her working environment; adopting the use of a sewing machine in her work; the importance of community; her technique; her accomplishment of placing African-American quilts in the Renwick Gallery; the influence of magazines, including "Raw Vision;" her aversion to commissions; expanding her use of materials and technology; her exhibitions; her role as an advocate and dealer; finding inspiration in black and white linocuts and her use of color in quilts; and making a connection with her audience. Mazloomi also recalls Marie Wilson, Cuesta Benberry, Edjohnetta Miller, Roland Freeman, Robert Cargo, Martha Connell, Penny Sisto, Minnie Adkins, Nkosi Johnson, and Lauryn Hill.
Biographical / Historical:
Carolyn Mazloomi (1948- ) is a quilt maker from West Chester, Ohio.
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 16 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 33 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.