Artists Reveal How They Give Back to Their Communities

Because the theme of the October/November 2013 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine is “Artists Give Back,” we asked contributors what they do to give back to their communities. Here’s a selection of their answers:


mixed media artichoke jenn mason
Jenn Mason created and sold this mixed-media
piece to benefit Meals on Wheels.

Sue Bleiweiss:

I feel quite strongly about supporting animal rescue organizations because all of my dogs have been rescues.  I donate a piece of artwork every year to the Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England for their yearly auction fundraiser. I’ve also made and donated a lot of postcards in support or Pokey Bolton’s fundraiser for the Friends of Life organization.

Jeanne Williamson: I am very active in giving back to the town of Natick, Massachusetts: my community! I have been an elected board member of the Natick Housing Authority, an associate board member the Council on Aging, and also an elected town meeting member, which is the legislative branch of our local government. None of these positions have anything related to being an artist. They give me a good opportunity to use a different part of my brain, and enable me to meet people in town who I normally wouldn’t cross paths with.

Jane LaFazio: I teach an afterschool arts program that is free for the kids. Among other things, I teach them surface design, sewing, art quilting, and, most importantly, to explore and enhance the creativity they already possess.


fabric postcard scottie by sue bleiweiss
Sue Bleiweiss made this fabric postcard
to benefit ‘Friends for Life.’

Jenn Mason:

I like to give back by creating a sense of community while supporting a charity. There are many different charitable group art projects that I’ve worked on over the years, from Meals on Wheels to making care packages for soldiers with handmade cards-all of them have been equally rewarding.

Sue Reno: I volunteer my time with the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, serving on the standards and exhibitions committees. I help with craft show and floor jurying. I love it because I am always learning more about fine craft, and I meet amazing artists.

Beth Carney: One of the most meaningful things I have done was after 9/11. Along with another quilter, Harriet Bertsche, we spent about three years making quilts for family members who had lost someone that day. We would meet with family members and talk with them about the person they had lost. They would give us clothing items and we would turn them into comfort quilts for each member of the family.

Barbara Triscari: I am working on small quilts for an awareness/fundraising event for Trusted Mentors, a mentorship program in Indiana that assists those in peril of becoming homeless. My fiber art group is organizing the event. I have been amazed at all of the ways quilters raise awareness and funds for worthy causes.

supported stencil quilt by lisa thorpe detail
Detail of ‘Supported’ by Lisa Thorpe, using her Stencil Gil bra stencil.

What do you do to give back to your community? Leave a comment below.

And just a reminder:  The Supported Stencil by Lisa Thorpe is still available (though quantities are limited) in the Quilting Daily Shop. All proceeds from the sale of this stencil will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.® whose mission is to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms for those in need.

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3 thoughts on “Artists Reveal How They Give Back to Their Communities

  1. I stitched a small town and its stories. The town, Acland, on the Darling Downs in Queensland, was bought up for coal mining and I interviewed the past and present residents, documenting their stories in fabric, paper and stitch and memorabilia donated to me. The resultant exhibition has toured to four Queensland centres and people tell me it has honoured this tiny, barely there place and its heritage in a subtle and thought provoking way. There is a new term coined during the mining boom in Australia-solastalgia or sadness at the loss of homeland. People are still fighting to save what’s left of Acland. I hope my work has helped to show that if a place- any place- is even one person’s everything, then it must be worth something. It has been an honour to get to know Acland and its people.
    Nicki Laws

  2. I organize The House Quilt Project, where artists make patriotic house quilts to benefit wounded service members in Southern California. House quilts measure 12×16 and must include a house and an American flag. There are many samples on the blog. Just Google The House Quilt Project. I am always looking for more artists to make wall quilts for this project.
    Jamie Fingal

  3. In Long Beach, CA, we make Quilts of Valor for our military veterans. We just finished quilt #2500 a couple of weeks ago. I personally have made 75 so far this year! It is really rewarding to present them to Veterans, either those currently serving and maybe recuperating from wounds, or the older generation who were never thanked! Last week we delivered 120 to West Los Angeles VA Hospital for the OIF/OEF Veterans.