SUPPORT GEE'S BEND QUILTERS
As a third-generation Gee's Bend quiltmaker and Board Chair of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation & Community Partnership, I have witnessed first-hand the global recognition of quilts created here in the Bend by my friends and relatives.
My mother's quilts (Lucy T. Pettway)—ones that I slept under as a child—are on the walls of some of this country's finest museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
As a lifelong resident of Gee's Bend, I have also seen that the traditions that have earned my community such acclaim have not resulted in economic advancement for the majority of quilters and their families.
The average annual income here is under $10,000, and well over half of the residents live in poverty. Some live without proper electricity and plumbing, and most do not have internet access in their homes. These challenges have significantly limited Gee's Bend quilters’ ability to connect with a global audience and market their quilts beyond the local quilters' collective.
To address this, Souls Grown Deep and our partner Nest are working alongside Gee's Bend quilters to develop direct-to-consumer channels for the sale of Gee's Bend quilts. Establishing an eCommerce presence will for the first time allow for us to sell our quilts outside of the Bend, and lay the groundwork for sustainable, long-term economic success of quilters, our families, and our community. In order to do this, we need your help.
Contributions to this project will go directly toward:
The Souls Grown Deep Resource Center, providing free computer and Internet access to quilters and the Gee's Bend community.
Training for quilters on marketing and sales strategies, business development, cooperative development, branding, logistics and other business disciplines.
Marketing campaign to ensure visibility and increased exposure for the makers and quilts.
Regular fine art studio photography of quilts provided at no cost to quilters.
Recruitment, hiring and training of a Gee’s Bend community member to serve as the local lead for the project.
Please consider making a donation.
With heartfelt thanks,
Mary Margaret Pettway