The Ray of Hope: Aaron Douglas–Inspired Quilts and Murals

Lobby Gallery

In the spring of 2012, local quilt artist Marla Jackson worked with Liberty Memorial Central Middle School 8th-graders in Michel Loomis’s English class, and Topeka area 4th-graders to produce a number of painted and quilted works inspired by Aaron Douglas and the Harlem Renaissance. This exhibition features two large paintings made by the 8th-graders, and 18 individual quilts made by the 4th-graders in Topeka. The 4th-grade students are all from the Williams Science and Fine Art Magnet School in Topeka. The project is a collaboration with the National Park Service via the Brown v. Board of Education National Park Service Site, Topeka. Both Jackson and Loomis have collaborated with Joan Wilson of the National Park Service on this project.

Marla Jackson is a nationally recognized quilt artist and teacher whose story-quilts have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. She is an active participant in the Women of Color Quilters Network. Her workshops with children such as those at Liberty Memorial Central Middle have been awarded external funding through grants she has earned. Michel Loomis is an award-winning teacher and longtime faculty member at Liberty Memorial Central Middle in Lawrence.

This project is sponsored by the National Park Service, the Brown v. Board of Education National Park Service Site, Topeka; by Accessible Arts; and by the Spencer Museum of Art.