Among the Norwalk Quilt Trail committee members are (from left seated) Anna Veccia, Rita Phillips, Laura Macaluso, Lesley Korzennik, (standing) Peter Bondi, Diane Jellerette, Wendell Livingston and Dana Laird.
The Norwalk Quilt Trail, an exciting new six-month event, will spotlight displays of beautifully crafted, handmade quilts made and collected in Norwalk. Beginning in May, Norwalk’s six museums and other public sites throughout the city will host an in-depth look at the quilting tradition in this area. The displays will include approximately 40 quilts representing themes important to American life, such as women’s work and domesticity, philanthropy, craftsmanship and technology, local history and maritime heritage.
David Westmoreland, the Norwalk Historical Society president, says, “The Norwalk Quilt Trail is the first of what we hope will be regular collaborations among our cultural institutions and other groups, including the Triangle Community Center and the Norwalk Children's Foundation. Working together, we are able to involve the broader community in learning about Norwalk's rich history.”
Participants in the Norwalk Quilt Trail include the Norwalk and Rowayton Historical Societies (the lead partners), Norwalk Museum, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk Seaport Association’s Sheffield Island Lighthouse, Stepping Stones Museum for Children and Switch Tower Museum. Additionally, pieces from the National AIDS Memorial Quilt will be shown at City Hall, thanks to the sponsorship of the Triangle Community Center, and local libraries also will offer quilt-related displays and workshops.
"Norwalk is fortunate to have many different museums and we are excited that, for the first time, they are collaborating on a project that will introduce a wider audience to our diverse cultural offerings,” says Laura Macaluso, the project coordinator and cultural heritage consultant to the Norwalk Historical Society. “Since many of the participants already have wonderful quilts in their collections, a Norwalk Quilt Trail seemed like an ideal theme for showcasing the unique character and collections of each venue. We hope the Quilt Trail will help create an awareness and appreciation for a form of Americana that combines elements of art, local history and culture. All of us look forward to welcoming residents and visitors to our Norwalk Quilt Trail exhibits and special events this summer and fall."
Wendell Livingston, the Rowayton Historical Society president, adds, “There will be a wide range of quilts to see and learn about -- antique quilts hand-stitched before the Civil War and Bi-Centennial quilts; large intricate quilts and small, equally intricate, ones for babies; quilts made by children and others by seniors; quilts celebrating life, marriage and death; quilts sewn by one individual and others stitched by hundreds of Norwalk residents. We invite everyone to explore the Quilt Trail with us this summer.”
Extensive public programming at sites throughout the city will augment the exhibits. This includes lectures by quilt scholars, quilting workshops and opportunities for residents to display their personal quilts. One of the project highlights will be a new Norwalk quilt created by residents from throughout the community for display at City Hall. Peace by Piece, Norwalk’s intergenerational quilt mentoring program, will organize the community quilt activities.
Support for the Norwalk Quilt Trail has been provided by the Connecticut Humanities Council, the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, the Coby Foundation and Gail Wall. Media sponsors include Connecticut’s Cottages & Gardens magazine and WSTC-WNLK radio.
Call for Quilt Loans:
Lesley Korzennik, the Rowayton Historical Society curator, says, “We are looking for quilts owned and created by area residents who are willing to share their quilts (and their family history) with the city's museums. Displays and documentation will highlight the development of Norwalk as seen through its quilters and quilt collectors. We invite all Norwalkers to be a part of this new initiative and participate in Norwalk’s heritage.”
For information regarding the project, and how personal quilts could be displayed, call 203.831-0136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.