Beyond the Bed

For some reason unbeknownst to me, I have this thing about the arts.  Call it an obsession? A calling? It’s hard to explain, but whatever it is, I found myself last week spending a rainy day in Albany asking for a mere $4 million dollars for the arts in a $142 billion state budget.  Feeling almost a little silly asking for so little money for such an important cause, I needed to remind myself why I do this. So on the way home, I called the Katonah Museum to see if they would stay open for a while so Joanne Mongelli and I could stop by.  We both needed to remind ourselves why we do what we do.

Nancy Wallach, the Katonah’s Director of Curatorial Affairs, let us in the back door, through a corridor to an exquisite colorful quilt exhibition, Beyond the Bed. It was a panorama of beautiful quilts…old quilts, crazy quilts, political quilts a la Betsy Ross, man-made and woman-made quilts, traditional quilts, contemporary quilts, trapunto quilts, log cabin quilts, pin cushion, mariner, star, etc. – an evolution of quilts from the 19th century to the present. We were like kids in a candy shop flitting from quilt to quilt quickly so we could let Nancy go home and end the day with pride in our chosen work. The museum has set up a whole room devoted to quilting, a “Quilt Lab” where visitors can explore, experiment and create their own log cabin quilt squares to contribute to community quilts which will be donated to local children’s charities. We’ll go back soon to make our own quilt squares, and you should too.

Beyond the Bed: The American Quilt Evolution is on view at the Katonah Museum of Art through June 16. Learn more about the exhibition here:, and about the Katonah’s evening lecture series, “Unexpected Quilts,” here:


Photo: Quilt by George Siciliano, “Industrial Resolutions” (2001)

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