Exhibition Program: Community Building and Quilts

Multicolored patchwork quilt
Image courtesy of Sandy Barrett Hassan.


Throughout U.S. history, quilt making has acted as an empowering process for women individually and collectively. Through the shared space of “quilting bees,” group sewing sessions intentionally and unintentionally worked as consciousness-raising settings, as communities came together to share struggles and stories. African American women in particular have used quilts as a means of expressing everything from rebellion to joy in their community. 

Join Niloo Paydar and artist Sandy Barrett Hassan in the exhibition Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts  for a conversation on quilts, community and history focused on Hassan’s recent quilt “Conflict.” 

About the Exhibition

Quilts, like maps, trace the personal stories and experiences of makers and their communities, often illuminating larger historical events and cultural trends. Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts draws from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum, with examples ranging from traditional early-American quilts to contemporary sculptural assemblages. Learn more about the exhibition

About Sandy Barrett Hassan

Native Washingtonian Sandy Barrett Hassan began quilting in the 1970s, making crib quilts for her daughters and friends. Throughout her career, her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums, including the Smithsonian and the Sumner Museum. Her quilts are featured in A Communion of the Spirits by Roland Freeman and Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary African American Quilts by Carolyn Mazloomi. 

About Niloo Paydar 

Niloo Paydar is curator emerita of textile and fashion arts at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. During her tenure, she organized more than 35 exhibitions, which traveled nationally and internationally, and authored numerous catalogs. She received several National Endowment for the Arts grants and other awards in her field, and served on advisory boards of national textile and costume professional organizations.

How to Participate

This program will take place in person at the museum. Space is limited, so please register online to reserve your spot.