May 22, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Quilt By Association: The Morristown Green Podcast explores art by prison lifers, at the Morris Museum

3 min read

 

It’s an inside job, by lifers in the largest maximum security prison in the United States.

From left: Maureen Kelleher of the Social Justice Collaboration Quilt Network, and Lauren Craig of Art in the Atrium Inc., with ‘On a Move, On a Groove,’ part of ‘The Social Fabric’ exhibition at the Morris Museum, August 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Ona Move, Ona Groove is a quilt, on display at the Morris Museum in Morris Township through Oct. 24, 2021.

Inmates at Angola Prison in Louisiana sell their quilts to raise money for a prison hospice. The quilts are getting some gallery exposure, and famous musicians–Ani DiFranco, Joan Baez, Taj Mahal–have lent their music to some of the exhibitions.

The project was co-founded by a woman on the “outside,”  Morris County artist and private eye Maureen Kelleher. 

 

The Morristown Green Podcast: ‘Quilt by Association.’ Click play to listen:

“The quilts are ambassadors and the bridge between two worlds. Never has there been so much fabric that has said so much,” Kelleher says.

Over the years, her investigations have freed several wrongly convicted men. Other prison quilters– such as Leonard Peltier, convicted in connection with the killing of two FBI officers on a South Dakota Indian reservation in 1975– remain controversial.

Patch from ‘Ona Move, Ona Groove,’ a quilt by prisoners with life sentences, on display at the Morris Museum, June 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The Morristown Green Podcast asked Kelleher what this quilt says to her — about art, and its power to penetrate and illuminate the darkest crevices of society.

And we asked Lauren Craig, executive director of Morristown-based nonprofit Art in the Atrium Inc, why she felt it was important to include Ona Move, Ona Groove in The Social Fabric.

The Morris Museum exhibition showcases works by African American artists, to honor Craig’s late mother, Viki Craig, a schoolteacher and avid quilter who co-founded Art in the Atrium.

We hope you enjoy this episode of the Morristown Green Podcast. Our thanks to our sponsors, Morristown Medical Center and the Morris Museum.

You can see Ona Move, Ona Groove in The Social Fabric: Black Artistry in Fiber Arts, An Exhibition in Homage to Viki Craig, through Oct. 24, 2021, at the Morris Museum, New Jersey’s only Smithsonian Affiliate. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm, at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. You can meet many of the ‘Social Fabric’ artists and buy artworks and exhibit posters at a closing event on Sunday, Oct. 17, from noon to 4 pm at the Museum. Suggested donation: $10. Call  (973) 971-3700 for more.

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LINKS RELATED TO THIS EPISODE:

ART IN THE ATRIUM INC.

THE SOCIAL FABRIC: BLACK ARTISTRY IN FIBER ARTS, AN EXHIBITION IN HOMAGE TO VIKI CRAIG

THE SOCIAL JUSTICE COLLABORATION QUILT PROJECT

MAUREEN KELLEHER’S ART

‘NOWHERE BUT BARSTOW AND PRISON’ — ANI DI FRANCO (PRISON MUSIC PROJECT)

‘GIVE IT UP’ — PRINCESS SHAW

Quilt By Association: The Morristown Green Podcast explores art by prison lifers, at the Morris Museum

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