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Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism – 2019

Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism

August – November 2019

The essays and artwork featured in the exhibition – and companion book, published by RIT Press – were framed within the context of American democracy.

“Crafting Democracy seeks to demonstrate the ways in which craft is employed as a tool of expression that gives voice to people who seek an active role in democracy.”

In mid-October (one year after the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue), the Jewish Hearts for Pittsburgh quilt was added to the Crafting Democracy exhibit.

When Hinda Mandell, RIT associate professor of communications, and Ellen Dominus Broude founded the Jewish Hearts for Pittsburgh campaign, crafters from throughout the U.S., Canada, England, Dubai, Costa Rica and Australia sent in 2,500 handmade contributions.

Volunteers in Pittsburgh hung the hearts throughout the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting. Read the 2018 article from the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle here

The Jewish Hearts continued to arrive. With the remaining contributions, Hannah Bluestone Lieberman stitched Jewish Hearts into a heart-themed pattern, and Linda “Kitty” Walsh crocheted the door-sized tapestry, stitching together the contributions into a larger schematic.

Read the City Newspaper article ‘Crafting Democracy’ fights fire with fiber (Aug. 6 issue) here

Read the Rochester Beacon article (Aug. 5) The fiber of democracy here

Read WXXI’s article (July 25) Using yarn installation to create a thread to Rochester’s social activism past here

Read RIT’s article (July 17) RIT professors organize yarn installation in Rochester Aug. 21 here

Read RIT’s article (July 15) Craft activism in the Trump Era on exhibit in ‘Crafting Democracy’ here

Exhibit Co-Curators: Juilee Decker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Museum Studies Program and Hinda Mandell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Communication, Rochester Institute of Technology.