Quilts and the Stories They Tell

Quilt made by artist Lauren Kingsland

On exhibit January 7 – March 14, 2021

Take a close look at a quilt and you can almost hear the words of the maker, the fabric, and the purpose of this utilitarian work of art. But while every quilt has a backstory, the story quilt starts with a message.  A story quilt may include words, photos, non-traditional fabrics, and embellishments along with more standard quilting techniques and materials.

This exhibit brings together the stories of a variety of individuals – master quilt artist Lauren Kingsland, her apprentice Grammy award-winning Cathy Fink, and members of the Uhuru Quilters Guild.  While the expertise of the quilters varies, each artist has the ability to tell a story in fabric in a unique and nuanced way, through choices of color, texture, design, and embellishment.

Ms. Kingsland shares a series of personal story journal page quilts marking significant moments in her life as well as one of her newest works, “Why I Vote.”  Among Ms. Fink’s quilts is one about a song she wrote honoring a friend who died in the AIDS epidemic, an ironic project to complete during another pandemic. And among the varied quilts on exhibit by the Uhuru Quilters are those that respond to current events through the long lens of history.  Some of the artists have exhibited nationally, like one by Angela Lanier, whose work was recently juried into We Are The Story at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, MN.

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Artina 2020: LIGHT: A Sculptural Solar Dance

Two sculptures from ARTINA 2020

On Exhibit August 5 – November 29, 2020

This outdoor juried sculpture garden curated by Gaby Mizes featured works by members of the Washington Sculptors Group installed throughout the rustic museum grounds.

As climate change concerns continue to rise, we need to increase the uptake of renewable energy to help reduce the use of polluting fossil fuels. In this exhibit, LIGHT: A Sculptural Solar Dance, artists used renewable energy sculptures to represent a need for better environmental responsibility. Work in this exhibition re-imagines solar energy as an art form. It adopts sunlight as the medium, the subject matter, or the energy source of the art. Artists explored how light, sun, sound, and energy intersect, capturing the importance of sustainability by using solar energy in existing or site-specific outdoor sculptures: art made from sunlight—the energy source for life on Earth. These sculptural displays celebrate the energy of the sun’s warming rays.

In thinking through the dance between art and light, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s and American artist James Turrell’s thoughts may come to mind:

“I am obsessed with light. How light forms a space. How a space forms light. As a child I grew up in Iceland where there is no sunlight in the winter. It simply stays dark all day. Light became something that pulled people together. Light became a way of connecting to other people. Light is social. Light is life.”
—Olafur Eliasson

“Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation.”
—James Turrell

About the Juror and Curator

María Gabriela (“Gaby”) Mizes is originally from Argentina. She graduated from the Instituto Argentina de MuseologÍa in Buenos Aires and Columbia University in New York and has worked around the world for many museums and art institutions. These include the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York as Assistant Curator of the traveling exhibition Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century; and the American Federation of Arts, where she handled traveling exhibitions in the United States and abroad.

In Washington, DC, Gaby founded Latin American ERA, a private consultancy company providing expertise in exhibitions and art collections management for national and international projects, and has worked for the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and several private art collections. She is currently the Director of Registration at Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, where she has been coordinating exhibition installations, managing the outgoing loans program, planning and designing art storage facilities, and caring for the collection for thirteen years.

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Makers Among Us

On Exhibit October 9 – November 23, 2020

Makers Among Us
features the work of young, emerging visual artists living in the Washington, DC metro area. The exhibit highlights the freedom, imperfections, creativity, and unique perspectives of artists who are just beginning their artistic careers, and who do not necessarily have years of experience and formal training under their belts.  Makers Among Us provides a platform for contemporary artists who have had limited opportunities to share their work with the public and a space for audiences to discover new talent and perspectives.

The individual artists are driven to create but also to share their work with you, the viewer. Their art is not only a vehicle for self-expression but also an avenue to communicate with audiences across generations and other perceived boundaries.

Featured Artists
Connor Czora
Hannah Becker
Dew Charmant
Mariah Gugel
Grace Roach
Daria Parsa
Naja Elon Webb
Gabi Mendick

About the Curator
Gabi Mendick is a self-taught artist who finds that her lack of formal training gives her greater freedom to explore and express her ideas and to experiment with a wide variety of media. She believes art and humor are accessible vehicles to connect with each other, ways to express opinions and emotions that are honest but thoughtful, and that can open considerate debate and discussion. Ms. Mendick views art as a way to begin to understand the least significant and the most significant similarities and differences between people.  As the exhibit curator, Ms. Mendick wanted to give other informally-trained artists a platform to express themselves.

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An American Story: Jewish & Muslim Perspectives

Click here to virtually view this exhibit.

On exhibit March 5-May 31, 2020

Jews and Muslims Making Art Together (JAMMART) is a group of unaffiliated, Muslim, and Jewish artists, that gathered together in 2008 for the purpose of creating art, learning about each other’s beliefs and values, and ultimately becoming friends. As they learned more about one another, they decided to create a work of art that focused on areas of deep intersection. The resulting work, composed of paint, fiber, metal, glass, ceramic, and wood, is a declaration of the beauty contained within the two religions and the intermingling of shared values and beliefs.

An American Story exhibited the original JAMMART artwork plus works by sixteen individual artists who are members of JAMMART – all of whom are immigrants, children of immigrants, or grandchildren of immigrants.  JAMMART hopes that these works can be a reminder of the ideals that the United States was founded upon.  JAMMART’s members want their art to show the power of friendship, community, faith, hope, and love.

Art Dolls: Figurative Sculptures Tell a Story

Handmade Art Doll

On exhibit January 9 – March 1, 2020
Reception: Sunday, January 12, 1 pm – 3 pm

This exhibit featured the work of students enrolled in doll making classes at Montgomery College taught by Wendelin Daniels. Her students explore mixed media art and the human form through the design and creation of original art dolls.

The dolls show a wide range of personae — from portrait dolls of historical figures to fantasy dolls, and everything in between. Adorned with their own distinctive costumes, accessories, and props, each doll conveys a unique individual personality and story. Unlike dolls that are manufactured as children’s toys, art dolls are irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind figurative sculptures.

The exhibit also illustrated some of the procedures used in making art dolls so the audience can see “behind the seams.” Doll making is a painstaking process that requires many skills including sculpting, painting, designing, wig making, costuming, and sewing. But it all begins with an idea — a vision of who the artist wants to create. Students refine their original concepts through brainstorming and research. They develop drawings of the character they have in mind, which includes sketches of the face and proportional drawings of the body and then delve into sculpting, painting, and assembling the doll. Costumes are created after the doll’s body is completed. Careful editing takes place throughout the process to ensure the clear communication of ideas. Students often utilize found objects in implementing their design as they undergo creative problem-solving and repurposing of existing materials.  In the end, students are rewarded and delighted with seeing their vision brought to life