The African American Heritage Foundation’s “Heritage Quilt” will hang in The Hilliard Art Museum – University of Louisiana at Lafayette during February for Black History Month.
The 10-foot-by-10-foot quilt’s 81 squares provide a colorful patchwork of people and places that represent the contributions and history of the region’s Black and Creole communities, explained Dr. Kiwana McClung, UL Lafayette’s chief diversity officer.
“Black History Month is often associated with prominent national leaders, which is significant. The Heritage Quilt’s significance is that it represents local African Americans’ contributions in religion, public service, education, medicine, industry, music and many other areas,” McClung said.
The quilt both depicts local history and commemorates a form that for centuries offered African Americans opportunities to “bond and strengthen kinship, document their stories, record events and pass down their legacies,” she added.
“The Heritage Quilt,” which will hang in the museum’s first-floor atrium, was conceived by Je’Nelle Chargois of Lafayette, who died in 2019. She was a civic leader and radio host who founded the nonprofit African American Heritage Foundation.
Chargois enlisted friends, relatives and volunteers for contributions ranging from needlework to research. Following her death, the group carried forth, completing the bulk of the textile then handing it over to professional quilters for finishing touches.
The Hilliard Art Museum features 11,000 square feet of gallery space and is the largest exhibition space between Houston and New Orleans. It houses a collection of 18th- through 21st-century European, Asian and American art. In addition to its permanent collection, it offers changing exhibitions of regional, national and international art.
The museum is at 710 E. St. Mary Blvd., on the UL Lafayette campus. Admission to The Hilliard Art Museum is $7.50 for adults, $6 for adults over age 62, $4.50 for students between the ages of 5 and 17, and free for children younger than 5 years old. UL Lafayette students, faculty and staff members can visit the museum for free with their University ID cards.
To learn more about the museum, exhibits, artists and programs, visit hilliardmuseum.org or call (337) 482-2278.
Photo caption: The African American Heritage Foundation’s “Heritage Quilt” will hang in The Hilliard Art Museum – University of Louisiana at Lafayette during February for Black History Month. Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette