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Thesis exhibit at the Kennedy shows how quilts influence Navajo weaving

ATHENS, Ohio (April 24, 2007) -- "Interweaving Cultures: Transcultural Influence in Native and Euro-American Textile Arts" will open at the Kennedy Museum of Art on Friday, April 27, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit, open through Aug. 1, highlights the intersection of Euro-American quilting and Native American weaving. It also marks the first undergraduate thesis exhibition at the Kennedy.

"Interweaving Cultures" presents senior Honors Tutorial student Janice Frisch's research on Navajo weavings from KMA's Southwest Native American Collection. She will display Kennedy weavings alongside quilts and embroidery from Ohio artists. "The idea is to let the viewers compare the different art forms and see the visual similarities," she said.

Navajo women were exposed to quilting and embroidery through boarding schools, missionaries, and the field matron program, which sent Euro-American women to Native reservations to teach them "civilized" skills. Some design elements of weavings in KMA's collection resemble quilt patterns such as "tumbling blocks" and sampler quilts and various styles of embroidery, Frisch said.

Frisch traveled to Phoenix and Flagstaff, Ariz., with KMA Curator Jennifer McLerran and other students last fall to interview Native American artists and peruse museum archives. The students received support from the Ohio University Foundation's 1804 Fund, and Frisch won additional funds from the Honors Tutorial College and the Provost's Undergraduate Research Fund for this exhibit. This and all Kennedy Museum events also receive support from the Ohio Arts Council, encouraging economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Next year, Frisch will begin earning a master's degree in folklore at Indiana University. She plans to continue her study of women's textile arts and to eventually work as museum curator and/or university professor.

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Media Contact: Public Relations and Media Coordinator Anita Martin, (740) 597-1585 or martina@ohio.edu

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