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Art Corps logoWelcoming Quilt: a Mending Project

ArtCorps brings creative strategy to the welcoming movement

As part of National Welcoming Week, ArtCorps will facilitate a quilt-making activity in which participants shift from being strangers to being neighbors.

National Welcoming Week logo, Welcoming AmericaThe kickoff of the Welcoming Quilt will take place on September 20, 2012 as part of Raising Spirits: ArtCorps’ Annual Fiesta, and will be followed by outreach events around the state throughout the coming year.

The Welcoming Quilt was inspired by Creative Activist Clara Wainwright’s “mending projects.” One of Clara’s signature projects is Mending Baghdad, a four and a half by six and a half foot quilt memorializing Baghdad as it looked during the American bombing on the first nights of the Iraq war. She intentionally left the quilt unfinished (the pieces were glued down but not stitched together) as a way for the public to symbolically “mend” Baghdad. “Mending Baghdad” workshops were held at the DeCordova Museum, the Cape Ann Museum and the Harvard Kennedy School, sparking reflection and dialogue.

We hope you will come to Raising Spirits to participate in the launch of this unique and timely community art-making activity. You can stay informed about future Welcoming Quilt activities and other opportunities to participate in welcoming activities around the state on the Welcoming Massachusetts calendar

ArtCorps Program Manager, Jane Martha Oslin, explains, “ArtCorps has worked in Central America with communities affected by immigration for more than 10 years, and we are very excited to share our creative strategies for building stronger communities on this side of the border.”

The Welcoming movement brings people together to foster understanding among diverse groups. The Welcoming Quilt strengthens this goal by drawing on ArtCorps’ expertise in using the arts to help communities envision and construct a peaceful and productive future. Whether designing a piece for the quilt, stitching the pieces together or engaging in dialogue with their neighbors, participants will share their cultures, connect with one another and take away new understanding about the role they can play in creating more welcoming communities. As part of this project, members of the Welcoming Massachusetts chapter along with other local ArtCorps partners will be trained to facilitate the Welcoming Quilt activity in their respective cities and towns.

Welcoming Massachusetts Coordinator Cristina Aguilera, works for the  Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), which is spearheading the statewide Welcoming Massachusetts initiative. She comments, “When groups are different from each other, they are prone to see each other through the lenses of stereotypes. It is when immigrants and non-immigrants come together for community-building activities like the welcoming quilt that stereotypes are broken.”