BWA tapestry hangs at MGFA on way to its next home
BRATTLEBORO, Vt.: In 2017, 14 Brattleboro-West Arts members created an 8-by-5-foot tapestry titled Art Connects US to share a positive message about the current political climate with the community. Since then, the piece has been carried in the Strolling of the Heifers Parade, and it has hung at various locations around town, including the Brooks House Atrium, Key Bank and All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, where it has resided since 2019.
Now, the flag-inspired tapestry has gotten a spruce-up, and plans are in the works to find a new long-term venue in which to display it. In the meantime, it is on view until May 21 in the Main Street window of the Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts gallery, which is owned by BWA members Petria Mitchell and Jim Giddings.
Based on the American flag, the mixed-media piece comprises 13 stripes and one rectangular field, each its own work of textile art by a BWA artist that gives voice to issues ranging from immigration to the environment to women’s rights.
BWA’s coordinator, potter Walter Slowinski, said the project grew organically from members’ desires to celebrate the compassion of individual Americans in the face of often competing governmental policies.
“It is so coherent, and it so clearly reads as a flag,” Slowinski said. “It’s such a clear image for us all, but it’s also a strong alternative statement that is so positive.”
In addition to Mitchell and Slowinski, the following artists contributed panels to the flag in 2017 (follow the links to view the profiles of current BWA members): Jackie Abrams, Julia Bacon, Marta Bernbaum, Kay Curtis, Lesley Heathcote, Karen Kamenetzky, Naomi Lindenfeld, Stephen Lloyd, Edith Mas, Kris McDermet, Sharon Myers and Jennifer Wiechers.
Jackie Abrams photo
Members of Brattleboro-West Arts work together in 2017 to assemble a flag tapestry in a BWA-sponsored project titled Art Connects US. Clockwise from left, Jennifer Wiechers, Sharon Myers, Edith Mas, Karen Kamenetzky, Petria Mitchell and Lesley Heathcote.
Art Connects US
"We have created a large, 2-dimensional art piece that gives a positive voice to the artists in our group. The tone of this piece is positive—what we stand FOR instead of what we stand against—to help engage all members of the public, to connect with each other and foster discussion and creative collaboration concerning issues we care deeply about.
We chose the iconic image of a flag as the unifying theme so the public will instantly grasp that this is meant to be a political statement. The piece uses unstretched canvas as the main substrate, giving us the ability to use paint, fabric, markers, embroidery, collage, etc.
It is not confined to red, white, and blue, or even to star shapes, but is rather an assembled 'tapestry' of our collective voices to make statements supporting our values and beliefs.