“It’s a beautiful thing when many come together as one. Kind of like a quilt!” Lizzy Rockwell exclaimed as she revealed The Hope Quilt Project on Thursday, November 18, 2021. This labor of love has been in the works since 2019. It is a communal work of art designed by Lizzy, made possible by a REGI grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, managed by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, completed by the hands of 249 volunteers, and revealed by the small, but mighty arms of students from The Adam J. Lewis Academy in Bridgeport, CT.
The visual illustration of this quilt, with a theme of Hope Rising, reveals so much more than the eye can see. This is a layered story of the impact of arts and culture in community – the ripple effects of one artist and one creative idea. This one project reflects how arts and culture foster connection, community, a sense of place and belonging. From conception to creation to completion, the creativity process was magical. It always is.
Lizzy Rockwell is an illustrator and author whose artwork can be seen in picture books, magazines, games and on walls. She is also a quilter and quilting teacher. In 2008 she formed a group called Peace by Piece: The Norwalk Community Quilt Project. This group of children and adults took the drawings created by AJLA students for the quilt, gathered with other community volunteers, and stitched the quilt together with fabric art contributed by numerous individuals over many months.
The quilt now hangs inside The AJLA founded in 2013 by Head of School, Patty Lewis and Director, Julie Mombello in memory of Patty’s late husband, Adam J. Lewis, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The mission of the AJLA is to honor Adam’s legacy by creating Hope and opportunity for young students in Bridgeport, CT, where 40% of children grow up in poverty. The Hope Quilt is itself an embodiment of hope and a representation of how art connects us, unites us, heals us, and helps us to understand each other. At a time when our communities are craving connection more than ever, we honor stories such as this to lift up the impact of arts and culture.
This is our time. This is our call. The world needs creatives to step up because where arts and culture flourish, communities thrive. As a regional service organization that supports and connects cultural organizations, artists and creative businesses, we are excited to do our part. As we dedicate our future to meaningful change, we introduce our strategy for embracing and celebrating ALL creatives and the diversity of our cultural landscape.
With Cultural Alliance 2.0, beginning with a Listening Campaign and Culture Connectors network we seek to connect more effectively with the people, places and cultures that reflect the rich demographics and dynamics of our region. Learn more about our Culture Connector Crowdfunding Campaign at https://patronicity.com/CultureConnectors