The Talking Quilts of Lauren Austin

by Lexa Pennington /
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Feb 09, 2010 / 0 comments

The Talking Quilts of Lauren Austin on exhibit in Winter Park until March 20, 2010
WINTER PARK, FL — Visitors can explore the traditional art of storytelling through quilt-making in Bigger Than A Scrapbook: The Talking Quilts of Lauren Austin—a two venue exhibition held at Crealdé School of Art’s Jenkins Gallery and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, January 15 to March 20, 2010.

Grandmere, by Lauren Austin

Grandmere, by Lauren Austin


Austin, a New Smyrna-based quilt maker, tells thought-provoking stories with her quilts that stitch together heirloom photographs with fabrics to create textural “stories” that share her cultural and family history. Her quilts also contain themes relating to matters of justice that grew out of her experience as a U.S. diplomat to South America, and her background as a civil rights lawyer and associate law professor at Syracuse University School of Law. Austin has been a community artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and recently completed a commission in Freeport, Bahamas, depicting a colony of Bahamian freed slaves.


In 2009, Austin traveled from her new home in China to be in residency at the HeritageCenter for a ten-day community workshop, made possible through an Orange County Cultural Tourism grant. She taught her quilt-making process, which is rooted in African-American tradition, to Hannibal Square/west Winter Park residents—youth to seniors—who created a family heirloom quilt plus a collaborative quilt, which will be added to the permanent public art collection of the HeritageCenter. The two-venue exhibition features Austin’s larger quilt works at the Crealdé Jenkins Gallery; her smaller works and new work produced during the residency will be on display at The Heritage Center Visiting Exhibition Gallery, along with the quilts created by the eight Hannibal Square residents who participated in her workshop, depicting stories from their own family history.


L Austen, Quilt

L Austen, Quilt


The above exhibition is funded in part through a Tourist Development Grant from Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program and through a Culture Builds Florida Grant from the State of Florida, Division of Cultural affairs.


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Crealdé School of Art
is a community based non-profit arts organization established in 1975. It features a year-round curriculum of over 90 visual arts classes for students of all ages, two galleries, the ContemporarySculptureGarden, and award-winning outreach programs. Crealdé’s second campus, the Hannibal SquareHeritageCenter, opened in 2007 in partnership with the City of Winter Park, offers innovative programming in the arts and humanities with a focus on local history, cultural preservation, and southern folklore. Through the award-winning Heritage Collection, the center pays tribute to contributions of Winter Park’s historic African American community. For more information, call:


Crealdé School of Art: (407) 671-1886; open M-Th. 9-4, Fri. & Sat. 9-1.


Heritage Center: 407-539-2680; , open Tu.-Th. 12-4, F 12-5, Sat. 10-2.