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About Shelly :: Curator

Since spearheading the first state documentation project in Kentucky in 1981, I have been fortunate to have been involved in a wide variety of exhibitions and quilt projects including Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt.

In 1991-92 I was heavily involved in producing an enormous multi venued effort within a year and a half. The Kentucky Quilt Project produced 6 exhibitions at 4 venues in Louisville (J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville Science Center, The Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, andLouisville Visual Art Association), 4 academic conferences and published 2 books simultaneously. That experience and countless others since then have made me uniquely prepared to conceptualize, advise, develop and implement every aspect of your project.

Some more recent examples of my work include:

Collection Development

I work with a number of banks, hospitals, airports, universities and private collectors to develop collections of quilts. From choosing a theme, to locating the quilts, to advising on hanging, to writing necessary wall and catalogue text, I am actively involved in each phase of the project. Often businesses update their collections, this includes purchasing additional quilts as well as de-accessioning quilts that no longer suit their needs. I often have the privilege of finding new homes for "old friends."


Collection Travel

Having been intimately involved over the years with the travel of the Kentucky Quilt Project exhibitions and the Morehead exhibition, Kentucky Quilts Roots and Wings, I am in a unique position to develop traveling exhibitions and can avoid the pitfalls that can occur.

I also have inside knowledge of most of the major American public and private collections through the research I did for my book American Quilt Collections: Antique Quilt Masterpieces. If your organization is looking to develop a particular theme for travel in the U.S. or abroad, I can locate the quilts, negotiate with the museums and organize the paperwork and the shipping. I recently couriered the American quilts for the exhibition «>Mosaic Textiles: In Search of the Hexagon."



"Kentucky Quilts: Roots and Wings"

Roots and Wings Catalogue CoverIn 1998 I curated the exhibition "Kentucky Quilts: Roots and Wings" at the Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky.

From the initial basic concept conceived jointly by the curator of the Kentucky Folk Art Center and me, I went forward to create and develop an extremely well received traveling exhibition that looked at both antique and contemporary Kentucky quilts through the lenses of the myths that surround Kentucky quilts. In addition I wrote an extensively researched essay for the catalogue.


"A Heritage of Genius: American Master Quilts Past and Present"

In 2001 I co-curated the exhibition "A Heritage of Genius: American Master Quilts Past and Present". The exhibition began as a simple concept to display and compare antique quilts with contemporary ones. I helped developed that basic concept into a successful three venued exhibition that showcased a variety of unique antique masterpiece quilts as well as innovative, cutting edge contemporary art quilts. One comparison was drawn by looking at quilts with no known voices of the makers and then presenting the contemporary quilts with the voices of their makers. Pieces of interviews with the makers from one of The Alliance for American Quilts projects accompanied each of the contemporary selections. In addition to co-curating I wrote most of the accompanying catalogue and wall display text that was presented with the quilts in three lobby galleries of the Durst Organization buildings in midtown Manhattan.


The Quilts of Gee's Bend

In 2002 I became involved with the landmark project The Quilts of Gee's Bend. I advised the organizers on many aspects of the exhibition and accompanying books including: discussing the rationale for selecting quilts for the exhibition and the books, writing quilt captions for the books and vetting essays about quilts for accuracy for the books Gee's Bend: The Women and Their Quilts and The Quilt's of Gee's Bend. I also have been involved in negotiations with potential future exhibit venues, and have become the representative for any of the quilts that are for sale.


Mosaic Textiles: In Search of the Hexagon

Mosaic Textiles: In Search of the Hexagon, catalogue coverIn 2003 an exhibition that I had been working on with a French colleague for many years finally opened outside of Rouen, France in a Folk Museum located in a castle in Martainville. It will be on exhibition until the end of October 2003. For the exhibition «Mosaic Textiles: In Search of the Hexagon» I helped with extensive research for the international comparative exhibition representing nine countries. I also consulted on the catalogue and wrote a forward for it.

No project is too large and no detail is too small. From proposal writing and funding development to securing quilts and venues to developing the perfect accompanying catalogue, I will make sure that your exhibition concept is translated into an exhibition success.