NOTE: The workshops were postponed due to inclument weather and have been rescheduled for March 9. A limited number of spaces are available. Register online.
Cheyney University welcomes the “Tracing Stitches: Exploring a National Treasure” art exhibit featuring the work of fiber artist Wendell George Brown on Thursday, February 7, at 4 pm. Brown's story quilts will grace the walls of Biddle Hall Art Gallery on the historic campus through March 30.
In addition to serving as Artist in Residence at Cheyney University, Brown will conduct two quilting workshops on, on the second floor of the Marcus Foster Student Union, leading participants through a process involving quilting, printing, and the use of historical text in the construction of two quilt panels. Each participant will keep one panel, and the other panel will be incorporated into a commemorative quilt that will remain at Cheyney University in honor of the institution’s 175th anniversary. The cost of the workshop is $40.
Brown is an Assistant Professor of Art at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. Brown's quilts are non-traditional and often inspired by the healing and protective qualities found in African sculpture, textiles, and Negro Spirituals; and symbols and meanings stitched into Underground Railroad quilts. These quilts served as a roadmap and assisted enslaved black people seeking to free themselves from slavery before the Civil War.
"In Africa, most of the textiles, such as weavings and appliqués, were originally made by men," Brown said. "As a male fiber artist, I feel innately attracted to the quilt medium because it allows me an opportunity to excavate and examine history as it relates to my culture.”
In addition, Brown stated that in "unearthing the history of Cheyney University, I found myself comforted and inspired to piece, bound, and stitch together art works that celebrate Cheyney’s history." According to Brown, Martha Fairbeau Minton, the first female graduate of the Institute of Colored Youth (now Cheyney University) in 1859, and Octavius V. Catto ICY 1858 Valedictorian and Civil Rights leader, are both an integral part of that history.
"My work for this exhibition celebrates the power of Cheyney's history--history that empowered people of African descent to transcend the oppressive circumstance of their lived experiences and to reconfigure historical events into existential decisions for outliving the immediacy of their human afflictions,” Brown explained. "I am elated and honored to be a part of the events celebrating the anniversary of Cheyney University."
Brown received his B.F.A. in Fibers/Crafts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, and his M.F.A. in Painting/Sculpture from Howard University in Washington, D.C. His works have been exhibited at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, the American Folk Art Museum in New York, Wheelock College in Boston, and the International Quilt Show in Yokohama, Japan.
The exhibit and workshops are sponsored by the 2013 Arts and Lectures Series at Cheyney University, which features a variety of speakers, musicians, singers, actors, and dancers from throughout the United States and abroad.
Biddle Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday. Reservations for the workshops or any Series events should be made in advance at www.cheyney.ticketleap.com
. For more information, please call (610) 399-2365.