Early this March, Nancy Turbitt flew from snowy Rhode Island to sunny Florida to share her passion for SAQA at AQS QuiltWeek in Daytona. Nancy and local volunteers set up a table outside SAQA’s regional show: Made in Europe, and they spent four days supporting SAQA’s mission of promoting the art quilt through education and exhibition, while also recruiting new members.
Prior to the show, volunteers met with SAQA organizers on a video conferencing call to talk about the best ways to explain SAQA activities. At the show, volunteers brought their own work to use as conversation pieces to draw in passers by. While there is a fine line between promoting SAQA and promoting your own work, volunteers were comfortable sharing their own art quilt processes and were able to shift the focus from their own art towards the SAQA’s efforts at a larger scale. Between the preparation during the video call and the ability to have a conversation starter in hand at the table, Nancy saw a relaxed, positive atmosphere at the table.
That atmosphere was crucial because many QuiltWeek attendees had never seen an art quilt before. Nancy and her crew engaged show goers by introducing SAQA, inviting them into the show, and encouraging them to come back and share their thoughts on the pieces in the show. These conversations resulted in a range of reactions from completely flummoxed (in a good way!) that quilting could look so different from the traditional aesthetic to eager, new art quilters who signed up for membership
Nancy’s commitment to recruiting new membership stems from more than just increasing SAQA’s numbers; in order to keep the organization vibrant, dynamic, and progressive, the membership needs an influx of new to stave off stagnation. Nancy says,”New members will bring new ideas and new ways forward that we might not be thinking of right now that will really help to propel us into a new generation.”
Thank you so much to Karol Kusmaul who coordinated volunteers and, of course, the wonderful volunteers who worked the booth: Becky Stack, Ellen Lindner , Dij & Rudy Pacarro, Laura Ruiz, Juanita Yeager, Gretchen Jolles, Linda Krause, Gabriele Di Tota, Margaret Knepper, Linda Hoffmeister, Shirley MacGregor, and Doris Hulse.
If you or someone you know should be featured in one of our Spotlights on Recruitment, contact daisyA@saqa.com