Blanket Statements

For the fourth year, the Chandler Center for the Arts will be quilted in lively color when it presents a quilt show to challenge the eye and the spirit. This year's exhibition, titled "Background Check," runs from Friday, August 28, through Friday, October 2. "The goal of this annual show is to present works that cover the entire spectrum of quilting today, from traditional patchwork quilts to those that challenge the viewer's concept of those works," says Diane Howell, the show's organizer and juror. "No matter what the style, each quilt will be someone's pick."

The exhibit features 24 quilts by 17 Arizona artists, including the nationally known Marla Hattabaugh, Meiny Vermaas-van der Heide and Ruth Garrison, as well as some up-and-comers. Some artists chose to take the show's concept to heart by creating quilts that make a personal, often autobiographical, statement about their backgrounds. Barbara Jakucki's family-tree-inspired creation, "Chips Off the Old Blocks: A Quilter's Family Tree," takes the shape of a tree with specially designed blocks that represent the personality and interests of various family members.

The public can meet the artists at a catered reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, August 28. From 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 16, the Chandler Cultural Foundation will sponsor "Grounded in Tradition," a panel discussion moderated by Howell, featuring Hattabaugh and Vermaas-van der Heide, which will encompass the background of quilting and the evolution of the art quilt. Both events are free.

Those who hold the view that quilting is dry or dull may well find their perception changed by the startlingly contemporary works in this show. For the truly avant-garde who prefer a genuine objet d'art to keep them warm at night, most quilts are for sale.

--Regina McLeod

"Background Check" opens Friday, August 28, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and evenings during performances. 917-6859, 786-2680.