A History of Gee’s Bend Quilts

Going to see <em>Gee’s Bend</em>, the new play opening October 15 at the Park Square Theatre? Here are some resources to learn more about the famous quilts at the heart of the play.

The Town of Gee’s Bend

The tiny Alabama community was founded by freed slaves, who became tenant farmers (sharecroppers) of the area’s former plantation owner. During the Great Depression, the federal government stepped in to help the residents buy land and homes. But the area’s isolation continued, encouraging a unique and striking style of quilt-making among local women that went largely unnoticed until less than 10 years ago, when the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston organized an exhibition. The exhibition eventually traveled to the Whitney Museum in New York and critics were quick to praise their artistry, with the New York Times declaring them “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”

Read more about the history of the quilts at the official site of the foundation, run by the current quilt-makers and their supporters: quiltsofgeesbend.com.
 

The Original Exhibition

Read and listen to a Talk of the Nation story on National Public Radio about the initial exhibition that brought the quilts to light.
 

A Look at the Quilts

View a slideshow featuring dozens of quilts in the Gee’s Bend style.
 

Interviews with the Quilters

Watch the first of several clips from an extended television interview with the Gee’s Bend quilters.
 

* Read “Sewn Together” for an interview with Regina Williams from Park Square Theatre’s production of Gee’s Bend.

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