DCA announces North American premiere of quilt exhibition at State Historical Museum

Des Moines is only U.S. city to host traveling exhibition in its entirety
Two Iowa quilts included in exhibition that toured China

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2013
Contact: Jeff Morgan, 515-281-3858

DES MOINES –The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs today announced a traveling exhibition featuring works of 25 contemporary quilters from the United States – including two from Iowa – will make its North American premiere next month at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. Des Moines is the only city in the United States to host the exhibition in its entirety.

After spending the past year on tour in China, “The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America” will be on display Oct. 4, 2013-Jan. 31, 2014, at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines.

Conceived and sponsored by the United States Embassy-Beijing, the exhibition and its tour were developed and managed by regional arts organizations Arts Midwest and South Arts, with additional assistance from Michigan State University’s Great Lakes Quilt Center. The exhibition’s presentation in Iowa was initiated by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of DCA, in partnership with the State Historical Museum.

“Our strong quiltmaking tradition in Iowa as well as the state’s unique relationship with China makes us a natural host for this exhibition,” Iowa Arts Council Administrator Matthew Harris said. “We are proud to work alongside Arts Midwest, the State Historical Museum and all the exhibit partners to showcase this enduring art form and its ability to transcend cultures.”

“The remarkable quilts in this exhibition reached audiences throughout China and celebrated the common threads between our two countries,” Arts Midwest President & CEO David Fraher said. “We are now thrilled to welcome the quilts home with an exhibition in Iowa, a state that enjoys a particularly deep connection with China through longstanding trade agreements, cultural and educational exchange, and enduring personal relationships between its leaders.”

The Sum of Many Parts was originally developed as a cross-cultural exchange to introduce the people of China to American culture through a shared love of textile arts, using quiltmaking as a metaphor for the rich diversity of American society.

The exhibition first opened in Shanghai, China, in September 2012, accompanied by interactive workshops and presentations from U.S. artists and quiltmakers included in the exhibition. It toured major cultural institutions in the cities of Kunming, Nanning, Wuhan, Dalian and Beijing and features works from 25 contemporary quilters from Hawaii, the South and the Midwest, including two Iowans – Caroline Trumpold of Middle Amana for her 2012 quilt, The Peacock, and Erick Wolfmeyer of Iowa City for his 2011 quilt, Portmanteau.

With its North American premiere in Des Moines, the exhibition will include additional information about the state of Iowa’s unique and ongoing relationship with China, and complementary programming developed by the Iowa Arts Council and State Historical Museum.

Partial funding for The Sum of Many Parts is provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with additional support from Rhoda A. Pierce, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, Iowa Arts Council, Kentucky Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Mississippi Arts Commission, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council and South Dakota Arts Council.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon-Sat and noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.




Mary Cownie, Director