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Messipi is a French Indian term for “Great River”. Messipi Threads is a collaboration of 58 different fiber works from 52 artists in the Quad Cities from both Illinois and Iowa. The individual fiber quilts are hung together to create scenes of river-life subject matter, combining all works into one gargantuan river quilt. The quilts are displayed side by side so the river meanders from quilt to quilt. This display is truly a unique representation of how the Mississippi River threads through our lives. Fans of fiber and the river can entwine freely in this artistic celebration. This exhibition will be available for viewing March 1st -24th on Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00-5:00pm. Climax Molybdenum is the sponsor for the exhibition. A special reception occurs March 6th from 5-7pm at 825 Avenue G, featuring musician David G. Smith, whose songs mesh with the thread-born subject matter.

The unique installation is the brainchild of Sara Detweiler of the Mississippi Valley Quilters Guild. The total length of Messipi is 88 feet and approximately 3 feet tall. When the individual quilts are joined together the river “flows” from fiber to fiber, with each piece telling a story of Messipi. This project showcases the heritage art of quilting. Appreciation for the fiber arts has skyrocketed in the last few years. This visual gives a compelling display of memories and moments from each artist. Each contributor was given the basic directions of creating a quilt either 24x18” or 18x24”, utilizing the given piece of fabric for the river. Thus, the Mississippi River flows through the life of each artist from the perspective of the subject matter and quilting techniques utilized in creation of the work.

David G. Smith will perform at the opening reception, threading a musical cord to the backdrop of Messipi. David specializes in the Americana genre and has crafted tunes to accentuate the visuals of Messipi Threads. His songs have been featured on FOX, Lifetime, and Travel Channels. His first release Non-Fiction played to over 80 Americana and Folk radio stations across America, gaining #1 on Reverberation Folk regionally and #42 on the national AMA “Roots 66” charts. He has spent much of his time on the back roads from Iowa to Nashville, “serving the song and a life sentence”. Messipi Threads installation and performance has been made possible from a grant allocated from Lee County Charitable Fund.

In conjunction with the exhibition Ft. Madison Main Street will conduct a Quilt Walk at 35 downtown locations from March 2nd -14th. Retail locations displaying quilts have a stamp pass that participants can complete for chances to win Quilt Walk raffle prizes. The Kingsley Inn will feature thematic High Teas on March 6th and 7th call them for reservations. The Sante Fe Depot Museum will highlight a Historic Quilt display as well. Ft. Madison keeps you in stitches for the month of March. Make it Ft. Madison!