SUPPORT GEE'S BEND QUILTERS

Mary Margaret Pettway
Image courtesy of The Philadelphia Museum of Art
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

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      Contributions to Souls Grown Deep Community Partership, Inc., a Georgia-based 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

      Donor Wall19

      Patricia | $259.92

      Just learned about your extraordinary quilts from the National Gallery of Art. Thank you

      Leslie

      I'm from Alabama but now living in Baltimore, and I had the great pleasure and joy to visit the quilters of Gee's Bend one summer while in college. It was one of the most moving experiences I've had. For Black History Month this year, I want to share my love for their art with my coworkers at a Black History Month meet-up, and I'm so grateful for the beautiful resources displaying quilts alongside poems on the google arts & culture website your organization has supported. Thanks for all your doing to celebrate the artists of the Black Belt!

      Anonymous | $52.23

      John Beardsley | $259.92

      With love to everyone in the Bend and hopes for better days ahead. The Quilts of Gees Bend rocked my life!

      Kim | $259.92

      Sending love from the Tuesday Night Quilters of Oak Ridge, Tennessee

      Meghann

      Thank you for the beautiful quilts your community has created and shared with the world!

      Vicki | $50

      Chelsea | $104.15

      Thanks for the opportunity to help your community build its business and bring its quilts to the world. I’m in Perth, Western Australia and I have just read a magazine article about your community’s beautiful quilts and it inspired me to learn more about Gee’s Bend quilting, which led me to this donation site. Good luck and I look forward to purchasing a quilt from you when your e commerce is up and running!

      Louise Morrisette Moody | $500

      I was there. I am so happy the quilting Bee is alive. Louise Moody

      Gail Willett | $100

      I'm so happy to contribute to Soils Grown Deep. And I just heard a conversation on Zoom about your work being shown in London.

      Joseph

      Words cannot express what these high art pieces—and that is what they are—have meant to me over the past five years since I discovered them via my friends W. David Powell, Bill Ellis and Gregg Blasdel. I share these images and the SGD website with everyone I meet who expresses interest in them. I lost my job as an art curator in August and am currently driving a FedEx truck to make ends meet. And yet compared with what these master quilters have been going through over many years, my situation is plush and plumb. So much love to you all and thank you to Souls Grown Deep (and to Bill Ellis for connecting me to SGD) for what you’re doing to make my favorite art in the world—and more importantly, the artisans who create it—continue to thrive. LOVE YOU and one day hope to meet you!

      Alun Hughes

      Such beautiful work - thank you

      Faye DiMassimo | $26.27

      Look forward to owning one of your direct to consumer quilts - a life bucket list item.

      Missouri Star Quilt Co | $5,000

      Looking forward to a great partnership from your friends at Missouri Star Quilt Company

      The Store Patch | $100

      The quilt makers of the Gee's Bend have created quilts that have inspired our us and enlivened our interest in textiles and the stories they tell. We created a donation campaign with a limited release of handmade masks and scrunchies with The Store Patch, and these are the donation proceeds.

      Anne | $25

      The quilters of Gee's Bend were the inspiration for me to start making quilts for my children from old clothes after seeing the 2002 catalogue. You inspire so many people and deserve so much more. Sending thanks and best wishes, Anne x

      Jaree Wolfe | $26.27

      Love the book and also getting to see the quilts on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

      Dani Golomb | $10.70/M

      These quilts have provided me with so much joy and inspiration, and are the reason I started quilting for the first time during quarantine.

      Meaghan O’Malley | $52.23/M