There was a very special quilt show in Atlanta in the spring of 1996. It was the display, at the Nicholson Gallery of the Atlanta History Center, of almost 400 quilts made in honor of the Centennial Olympic Games held here that year.
The show, entitled "The Olympic Games Quilts, America's Welcome to the World," continued through May 19. It was the result of an effort organized by the Georgia Quilt Project four years ago, shortly after the Barcelona Olympics. That group, formed in the 1980s to document the state's quilts and quilters, wanted to find a way to commemorate, through quilts, the first Olympic Games to be held in the South.
Working with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG), the Quilt Project proposed that the quilters of Georgia make a gift of quilts to the athletes and the Olympic organizers of each of the nearly 200 countries participating in the Atlanta Olympics. Two quilts would be presented to each country -- one to the athlete who serves as the flagbearer for the nation in the opening ceremonies, and the other to that country's Olympic committee.
The JPEG images on this page are snapshots I made when visiting the show in the Spring of 1996. Clicking on the images will bring up a larger version of the image shown. The quilts were not hung in such a way that all of them could be seen, so these are not meant to be documentary photos, but just to give the flavor of this remarkable quilt show. The program/catalogue for the exhibit is a 144-page book in the large-format style of quilt books entitled "The Olympic Games Quilts, America's Welcome to the World." It was published by Oxmoor House, and features color plates of all of the quilts displayed in the show. As a special bonus to quilters there are also instructions and templates for making four of the quilts, including the "Quilt of Leaves." The quality is very high, and if you didn't make it to Atlanta the book is available from Oxmoor House, or perhaps at your local quilt store, for about $20. Planet Patchwork has a limited number of copies available for just $12.95.
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