Modern Quilt Guild Pop-Up Show in Kenosha


Modern quilts were the stars at a pop-up show in Kenosha, Wisconsin recently. I wish you guys all could have been there, because it really was a fun and exciting event, but just in case you weren’t, I thought I would share some of my impressions. 

The Kenosha Art Association has monthly pop-up gallery shows, and June’s show, “Square Up for the Arts,” featured quilts made by members of the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild. Margaret Heller from Ready for Bed Quilts and one of our guild’s wonderful members, Bethany Wise, worked tirelessly with the Art Association and other Kenosha community members to make it happen.

What I think was really special about this show was that it was a community event. So it wasn’t just for quilters. How awesome is that? As Bethany said in a Facebook post afterwards, getting quilters to come to a quilt show is easy. Showing quilts to the general public is much more challenging. But Bethany and everyone else who put together this amazing show did just that. In fact, I would wager that the majority of the people who came to the show were not quilters at all—and yet they seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing. That’s a huge win in my book. : ) I love showing people a side of quilting that they almost certainly didn’t know existed before.

Anyway, the Art Association lined up a really cool vacant storefront in downtown Kenosha in which to hang our quilts (supplemented by other artwork, such as these flowers made entirely from found items). A steady stream of people went through the entire evening.

Bethany did quite the job hanging all those quilts way up in the rafters of that extremely high ceiling! It was a dramatic effect—not to mention interesting how looking up at the quilts seemed to change the visual impact of some of them. The height gave me a whole new perspective on my Warm and Cool quilt (on the right).

Here’s a sampling of some of the quilts from the show:

By Erin Pann

A Summer Sampler Series quilt by Rebecca Bark

By Bethany Wise

Did I mention there was live music too? : ) This dude was rocking out under quilts by Beth Haferkorn (left) and me.

By Margaret Heller of Ready for Bed Quilts

By Barbara Mars

By Rebecca Bark (left) and Marisa McKee

My Sparkler quilt

By Beth Haferkorn

All those amazing paintings you see hanging with our quilts were done by local artist Eric Sosa.

Now who could have put those out? : ) (The books were door prizes.)

All in all, this was such a wonderful event. Thank you to Bethany and everyone in Kenosha for putting on a great show (and for coming out to see it)! I hope we’ll be able to have more events like this around the area in the future!

P.S. Tomorrow I’m headed to a very different kind of quilt show—International Quilt Festival in Chicago! I’ll be there with Faith, so if you’re there, keep an eye out for us!

15 replies
  1. Sara
    Sara says:

    You are KILLING me with this!!! I wish I was there for that! I won't be in town until next month the 19th! It looks like it was amazing to see:):)

  2. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I'm so sad I'm just hearing about this after the event! Looks like it was a great time and had some great quilts on display. Lee, how would I go about finding information about and possibly joining the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild? I live just south of Milwaukee.

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    Gregerge tongcui says:

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  4. moira
    moira says:

    what an inspiration. our MQG (East Midlands, UK) has just started up and we've been talking about a pop up exhibition so I'll be sending this link to all the members for discussion at our next meeting

  5. Margaret Heller - Ready for Bed Quilts by Maggie
    Margaret Heller - Ready for Bed Quilts by Maggie says:

    I was still hanging quilts at 2:00 p.m. before the show that started at 5:00 pm and groups of people were coming in and checking out things. I would say 200-300 or more people came by to see what was going on. Francisco Loyola, the head of the Arts Council here, is now an affcionado of modern art quilts and I closed the deal by taking him to the International Quilt Festival in Chicago yesterday. He was raised in Mexico City in the arts community there and is now looking back at the quilts his grandmother was making with new eyes.

    It was so great to see members of the Modern Art Guild make it down for the show and so many were generous in loaning their work to us for about 5 days total. The show cost almost zero dollars to put on (the landlord paid the city licensing fees) except for our labor. Each month our shows get better and better and landlords of empty buildings are asking us to use them!. I am growing sunflowers for the Pop Up Garden in August 🙂

  6. CurlyGirlMom
    CurlyGirlMom says:

    Oh how fun!! I haven't been quilting for very long and certainly haven't followed any quilting blogs for long. Yours is one of my favorites and now I find out that you're in Wisconsin too… SUPER SWEET! I'm originally from Marinette and for some crazy reason, I always feel so excited when I see someone/something from WI. Hopefully I'll be able to support one of your future events. It looks like it was AMAZING!! (I LOOOVE YOUR WARM/COOL QUILT!)

  7. Valerie
    Valerie says:

    Oh, I love Kenosha! I grew up in Chicago, so that was a great getaway spot for a long weekend. So glad that quilt love is being spread around. Love your sparkler quilt-the color layout is spectacular.

  8. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    I enjoyed reading about this show, as you had mentioned it before in one of your posts. I agree–the quilts do look fabulous hanging that way, and I think the hangtags were a brilliant idea for labeling. Congrats to your community for good support of the Modern Quilts.

    On a side note, I'm making two Sparkler blocks this month for a bee I'm in. Having followed the quilt's progress on your blog, I'm not intimidated by the design, but intrigued.

    Enjoy Chicago. Nice to have a show in your backyard, so to speak–


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