BLACK PIONEERS:
LEGACY IN THE AMERICAN WEST

ON VIEW
SEPTEMBER 3, 2022 – JANUARY 8, 2023

Special exhibitions are included with museum admission.

Exhibition Overview

This exhibition, the first of its kind, explores the path of Black history in the West with a timeline of original pictorial quilts. The timeline begins in 1528, with Esteban’s dramatic story, which marks the arrival of Africans in the American West and continues through the Civil Rights Movement. 

Dispelling the myth that Black people in the old West were mostly cowboys, Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West, shows rich diversity in their occupations and achievements in society, religion, education, and the arts. Quilts were chosen as the visual medium for this exhibition because they function to highlight the intersections of African Americans in the Western Frontier while informing others about the art form and its important role in African American history.

“Quilts and quilt making are important to America and Black culture in particular, because the art form was historically one of the few mediums accessible to marginalized groups to tell their own story, to provide warmth for their families, and to empower them with a voice through cloth.” -Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi.

This exhibition is organized by The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art and Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, curator, historian and artist. The 50 quilts were created by the Women of Color Quilters Network especially for this exhibition. Founded by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi in 1985, Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN) is a non-profit national organization whose mission is to educate, preserve, exhibit, promote and document quilts made by African Americans.

TRAVELING EXHIBITION
The James Museum is excited and proud to offer Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West as a traveling exhibition. For inquires, please contact Assistant Curator Caitlin Pendola at caitlin.pendola@thejamesmuseum.org.

Exhibition Catalog

The exhibition catalog includes images of all 50 quilts and accompanying artist statements.

OPENING RECEPTION

View Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West as you mingle with curator Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi and exhibiting artists from the Women of Color Quilters Network. Ticket includes a drink and light bites. Space is limited; registration required.

The James Museum members can also preview the exhibition all day on Friday, September 2 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) before it opens to the public.

Date & TIME

Friday, September 9
$40; free for members
5 p.m. – Doors open for members
6 – 8 p.m. – General admission

quilting workshop | lauren austin

Photo Memory Quilts

Create an art quilt using family photos and keepsakes under the guidance of artist/instructor Lauren Austin, whose work is included in this special exhibition. Learn image transfer techniques and a quick quilt/no piecing method of construction. Quilting experience not necessary. Sewing experience helpful but not required.

Date & TIME

Saturday, October 22
$175; $150 for members
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

QUILTING WORKSHOP | Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks

Fanciful Faces

Create a 9×12” mini quilt featuring fanciful faces inspired by the style of artist/instructor Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks, whose work is included in this special exhibition. Under her guidance, design and hand-sew faces with whimsical features using a variety of fabric and embellishments. Sewing experience helpful but not required.

Date & TIME

Saturday, November 5
$50; $45 for members
1 – 3:30 p.m.

Image and Exhibition Credits

This exhibition is organized by The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art and Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, curator, historian and artist.

Tierney Davis Hogan, Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet, 2021, ©Tierney Davis Hogan
Sandra Noble, Annie Box Neal, 2021, ©Sandra E. Noble