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Gadsden State’s Meadows Gallery presents the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective

Gadsden, Ala. — The Meadows Gallery at Gadsden State Community College is partnering with the Theatre of Gadsden to present the popular Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective.

An artists reception is planned for 2-3:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in the gallery, which is located in the Meadows Library on Gadsden State’s Wallace Drive Campus. Artists in attendance include China Pettway, Mary Ann Pettway, Emma Pettway and Juli Pettway. Admission is free and open to the public.

Other artists who will have works in the exhibition with the Pettways include Mary E. Brower, Lue Ida McCloud, Arlonziz Pettway, Jessica Pettway, Deshaun Smith and Jessica P. Witherspoon. The show will be on display through Jan. 16, 2020.

Meadows Gallery Director Mario Gallardo is curating the exhibition. He has worked with the group before having hosted the artists at the Walnut Gallery in 2013.

"Showing these quilts is a way of sharing and preserving Alabama's unique cultural heritage,” he said. “These works tell the stories of families and place like no other art form. It is a privilege to show this work, and we are thankful to the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective and for Theatre of Gadsden and their partnership in making the exhibition possible."

Gallardo along with Paula Ross and Mike Beecham, members of Theatre of Gadsden, traveled to Gee's Bend recently to select the work and to visit the quilt collective.

“Their art cannot be fully appreciated with just one visit,” said Ross. “It's astounding to me that these women – and some men – from such an isolated rural Alabama community have created work that has traveled around the world. It is a testament to the power of their art to connect to so many people."

The Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective exhibition is being held in conjunction with the Theatre of Gadsden’s musical “Quilters.” The musical opens at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Ritz Theatre. It is being directed by Beecham.

“The collaboration between Theater of Gadsden and Meadows Gallery at Gadsden State seemed like a natural fit,” Beecham said. “Quilters is told in blocks corresponding with quilt patterns, illuminating the contributions of quilts to daily life and family history. The music, harmonies and stories are hauntingly beautiful.”

The Gee’s Bend artists will be in attendance for the Theatre of Gadsden performance and a reception will follow.

Other performances of “Quilters” will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 16, 22 and 23 and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 17 and 24. To reserve tickets, visit www.theatreofgadsden.org or call (256) 547-7469.

The Meadows Gallery is a partnership with the Division of Fine Arts and the Meadows Library at Gadsden State. The gallery is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Fridays. To schedule a group visit, contact Mario Gallardo at mgallardo@gadsdenstate.edu