Our Story

With the goal of establishing a place for art quilts in the world of contemporary art, California quilt artist Yvonne Porcella sent out 50 letters to artists and friends to rally them to her cause. Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) was launched in 1989 from Porcella’s initiative, rapidly growing to include hundreds of members across the country. 

The vision was to create an organization to:

  • Promote art quilts to major art publications, museums, and galleries
  • Educate the public about art quilts
  • Serve as a forum for the professional development of quilt artists
  • Act as a resource for curators, dealers, consultants, teachers, students, and collectors

SAQA members held their first conference in 1995, and Porcella served as president for 11 years. SAQA’s annual conferences now attract more than 200 members, who gather to network and attend lectures and workshops by internationally known experts.

In 2019 SAQA celebrated 30 years of creating opportunities for the art quilt and the individuals who create these compelling works. SAQA has steadily built its commitment to creating quality exhibitions and offering vital professional development opportunities for the membership.

SAQA's Board of Directors has been guided by presidents, each lending their unique skill set to addressing the needs of the organization and its members.

1989-2000: Yvonne Porcella

Yvonne PorcellaYvonne Porcella, California. Ms. Porcella's vision launched SAQA, the largest organization devoted exclusively to promoting the art quilt worldwide.

2000-2007: Katie Pasquini-Masopust

Katie PMKatie Pasquini-Masopust, New Mexico. Ms. Pasquini-Masopust was instrumental in establishing the annual SAQA Conference and in growing the organization membership.

2007-2009: Judith Content

Judith ContentJudith Content, California. Ms. Content established what has become a very successful exhibition program. Each year, SAQA has 12-16 Global Exhibitions traveling around the world to museums, galleries, quilt show, and other venues.

2009-2010: Lisa Chipetine

Lisa ChipetineLisa Chipetine, New York. Ms. Chipetine's flair for technology helped SAQA to embrace social media platforms, online professional development tools, and launched the Visioning Project.

2010-2013: Sandra Sider

Sandra SiderSandra Sider, New York. Dr. Sider established the SAQA Endowment Fund and worked tirelessly to create a stable financial future for the organization.

2013-2016: Kris Sazaki

Kris SazakiKris Sazaki, Sacramento, California. Dr. Sazaki was instrumental in focusing the spotlight on educational opportunities for SAQA members.

2016-2018: Lisa Ellis

Lisa EllisLisa Ellis, Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Ellis' achievements included a focus on Strategic Initiatives which include expanding SAQA's exhibition programs and offering more ways to promote the art quilt. 

2018-2020: Lisa Walton

Lisa WaltonLisa Walton, Sydney Australia. Ms. Walton is SAQA's first non-US President. Her focus was strengthening the global connections within SAQA while increasing membership across the world.   

2020-2022: Deborah Boschert

Deborah BoschertDeborah Boschert, Lewisville, Texas. Ms. Boschert is eager to guide SAQA into the future, using the vision and goals of our strategic plan.

2022-2024: Mel Beach

Mel BeachMel Beach of San Jose, California comments "Serving SAQA has had a profound impact on my life and art. I have connected with fiber artists and enthusiasts all around the globe. I have a new appreciation for SAQA and the wealth of opportunities available to members."

2024 - : Lilo Bowman

L BowmanLilo Bowman of Fort Worth, Texas is our current president.

When SAQA was founded in 1989, it had 34 members and a budget of $700. Now SAQA has over 4,000 members around the world and a budget of $1 million.

Wavy Lines