FREE COMMUNITY DAY: Quilting Generations Together

June 4, 2022 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm Newport Art Museum

Making Art & Telling Stories

Welcome to the Museum’s FREE COMMUNITY DAY! We’re celebrating family in all its forms with a giant quilt-making project, collaborative weaving, workshops, storytelling and more! Perfect for all ages and skill levels, this is your opportunity to reflect upon family histories, and memorialize an event, person, or place of importance to you with fabrics and trims.

We’ll learn new and old textile techniques, cut fabric and design artwork, and share knowledge and stories, literally and figuratively weaving our experiences together. A visual celebration, our Community Album Quilt and our Wishing Weave will be displayed in the Museum’s gallery (and continually added to) all summer.

Community Album Quilting! An Album Quilt is just that – a grid of squares, each featuring a memorable person or event. Bring a photo to inspire you, or create your square from scratch! Museum Educators and our friends at Sankofa Community Connection will be joined by local quilt maker Veronica Mays to provide guidance, design suggestions, advice on how to use the materials, and tips on construction as you sew, glue or draw a design on your own quilt squares. All materials provided and all ages and abilities welcome!

Wishing Weaving!  Add your wishes to our collaborative weaving. Reflect on what community means to you, what you wish for the future and decorate a strip of fabric to weave through with the assistance of the experienced artists and weavers from Looking Upwards Art Hubs. Our weaving will be displayed in the gallery.

Demonstrations! Learn basic hand embroidery stitches to decorate your quilt square and learn how to dye fabrics with natural dyes.

Guided Mini-Tours! Find inspiration in our current exhibition Velvet & Silk: The Palmer Family Quilts through a drop in Docent guided Mini-Tour.

Open-mic Storytelling! Get up the gumption to share your story at our all ages open-mic storytelling session with Raffini of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers! Everyone has a personal story of a textile object of personal significance – what’s yours?

Take one home! Install one quilt square in the Museum’s gallery, and make another to bring home as a reminder of your amazing day crafting art and stories with the Museum.

FREE ADMISSION to the galleries ALL DAY, 10am – 5pm
Art Making, Storytelling and Demonstrations outside on the lawn, 12 – 4pm
All materials provided, and No sewing required. 

RSVP appreciated but not required.

Thank you!

This event was made possible with a grant from the John Clarke Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee

Meet our Artists and Collaborators

Veronica Mays is a fiber artist who loves to design and create art quilts that reflect her heritage.  As a 2018 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Grant recipient, she created art quilts for the Dr. Martin Luther King Center, The Newport County Branch of the NAACP, Mixed Magic Theater and The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society. She is also a 2019 recipient of an Assets for Artists grant from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Although she learned to quilt while living in Fairbanks, Alaska in 2004, she has been quilting in earnest for the past six  years. Working with fabric places her in a zone of peace and joy!  Mays notes, “As an artist, I love the process of developing and executing an idea.  I am partial to using African-inspired fabric to create pieces that reflect my culture. Portrait quilts are a particular interest of mine.” Find her work at

Rhode Island Black Storytellers (RIBS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the awareness, appreciation, and application of Black Storytelling in Rhode Island through performance, as well as through educational and cultural experiences. Throughout the year, the organization offers workshops in storytelling, writing, and related arts as a part of the development of the next generation of storytellers along with professional development workshops for those interested in enhancing cultural awareness, and improving their performances and communication skills. All these elements come together to create Funda Fest.

V. Raffini, a self-made artist, actress, and teacher from the South Side of Providence has long been committed to the community, teaching Black History, and theatre, telling stories and nurturing the spiritual and creative abilities of youth.

Sankofa Community Connection strives to disrupt inequalities and injustice within the Newport community and schools. Through their work, they continue to bring awareness, encouragement and education to empower community members that are not often heard. Their mission is to increase pride of place within the African American Community of Newport County through a community-led initiative with 3 main focus areas: 1. Community events and gatherings to increase our social cohesion, 2. Community Meetings to discuss the impact of institutional racism and racial oppression, promote dialogue and create solutions to the issues, and 3. Historical Education to reveal, honor and celebrate the cultural heritage of African Americans of early Newport.

Niko Merritt, Founding Director of Sankofa Community Connection, mother of 5, Community Activist & Organizer, Advocate, Public Historian, Certified Community Health Worker, Licensed Aesthetician, Salve Regina University Education Department Advisory Board Member, Owner of Melanin Sol Creations. This is an important time in our history, our current political climate, the increase in awareness and civic engagement combined with the overall feeling of wanting to do something to make things better- is all around us. It’s time to come together to make changes. Pretending we still don’t see won’t get us there. Talking without action won’t get us there. Let’s unite as a community, let’s have those difficult discussions and take it one step further-make changes to improve our situation for us and our children.

Looking Upwards Art Hubs includes Out of the Box Studio & Gallery in Jamestown, and Downtown Designs and Studio 57 in Newport. Together these studio/galleries provide inclusive art instruction, exhibition opportunities, career path guidance, and small business development for emerging artists and artisans. Looking Upwards, a non-profit agency that supports people with disabilities to live fulfilling lives, actively provides artists they support with the freedom, materials, inspiration, and space to explore and express themselves creatively, and share their work with the public.