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45,000 Quilt Project

A series of pop-up events for campus and local communities

Activists and artists from 12 U.S. states and Oaxaca, Mexico, have joined forces to create the 45,000 Quilt Project to call attention to the 45,000 people who, on an average day in 2019, were imprisoned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

The Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College have joined together to bring the 45,000 Quilt Project to Vassar College and Poughkeepsie.

Evoking the famous AIDS Quilt, the 45,000 Quilt Project has 45 individual quilted panels, each with 1,000 marks, created across the continent and stitched together into five large panels in Concord, New Hampshire, where project founder Glen Ring works with the Human Rights Group of the Kent Street Coalition. The quilts decry the cruelty to detained individuals and families, and ask the American public what we will do about the fact that our tax dollars are funding the criminalization of migration and the flouting of asylum procedures enshrined in international law.

Generous support to bring the exhibition was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We are grateful to the City of Poughkeepsie Public Arts Commission for their support. The exhibit is curated by Rick Jones, Laboratory Coordinator and Collections Manager, Department of Earth Science & Geography. 

The quilts will be displayed at various locations on Vassar’s campus, in the City of Poughkeepsie, and elsewhere, from 

October 19 to November 20. (Details below as available)

This is an interactive exhibition

photo credit: Karl Rabe

We've asked visitors and students to reflect on the power of the quilts. This is how Vassar student Olivia Vela Page ‘23 responded. To share your own reaction or comment, email migrationconsortium@vassar.edu.

Quilting and textile arts can be an expression of political soldarity, but quilting can also be used as a textile-based therapy for women recovering from sexual violence and trauma—sethis essay by Rachel Cohen, PhD, and Catherine Butterly, Msc. In post-conflict areas such as Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nepal, Ecuador and elsewhere, the hands-on process of creating story cloths to process the traumatic past can be a powerful healing tool. As a recent exhibition of story cloths at the UN demonstrates, creating textiles can make visible to a larger community the suffering of war and displacement, while also offering injured women healing and control over their stories.

Read more about this project in an article in The Miscellany News written by Abby Tarwater '21

As well as an article in the Rural Intelligence, written by Vassar's own, Taylor Stewart '22

Locations and Dates 

Vassar College Library Lawn (campus community only)October 19 12-6pm
October 20 9-6pm

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center 
October 21-October 25*

*The art center is open to the public on weekends only and members of the campus community Wed-Fri.Please refer to FLLAC website for more information. 

Family Services Main Lobby at 29 North Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie
October 26-29 9am-5pm

Christ Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie 
October 30-31

Open to Public Visitors as follows:
Friday October 30 from 10:00am-2:30pm
Saturday October 31 from 10:00am-3:30pm
Sunday November 1 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm

*please visit https://www.christchurchpok.org/ for more information about their weekend services 

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center 
November 4-7*

*The art center is open to the public on weekends only and members of the campus community Wed-Fri.Please refer to FLLAC website for more information. 

Fallkill Creative Works at the Glebe House, 635 Main St, Poughkeepsie
November 8 11:00am-2:00pm

Bard College Center for Experimental Humanities at 1399 Annandale Road Annandale-on-Hudson NY 12571, Annandale on Hudson. 
November 10-13, 12-3pm

Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn, Main St. Poughkeepsie
November 16-19

Additional locations, dates, and hours will be added as they become available; please check back often for updated information. Please note that social distancing practices are in effect at all locations, please wear a mask.