Thank you for supporting the Virtual Festival of Quilts

Thank you for supporting the Virtual Festival of Quilts

We did it—all of us!

Thanks to friends like you, our first ever virtual Festival of Quilts was truly an amazing experience. We are proud to announce a new total as donations have continued to come in. The event raised $61,747 to support our programs and the more than 731 youth, adults and families we serve. Although we missed seeing everyone in person, much of the spirit and energy of the Festival carried over to the virtual format. Our Festival of Quilts Committee and our staff may have had the idea for an online Festival, but you saw it through! In the process, we learned so much about you, our wonderful supporters, donors and friends—new and old. But most of all, the virtual Festival of Quilts showed us, once again, how hope begins here.

Out of our comfort zone 

We all had to step ouside of our comfort zone a bit with the Virtual Festival of Quilts. You stepped out of your comfort zone by logging in, shopping and purchasing quilts and gift shop items without even seeing them in person! Our Committee and staff stepped outside of our comfort zone too, but Associate Director of Advancement Brooke Buzard and Event and Volunteer Specialist Colleen Combes may have had to the most when they hosted our live video events on Facebook.

Brooke and Colleen did a great job and so did our guests: Cunningham Chaplain Gay King-Crede, Festival Committee members Joan Sargent, Marge Stout and Pat Howard, Cunningham President/CEO Marlin Livingston and Board of Directors President Cheryl Van Ness.

Including the Facebook Zoom with our featured speaker Kelly McCleary, the "Quirky Quiltress," hosted by Director of Advancement Ginger Mills, our Festival live video events had 2,958 views!



CU Mask Makers Community Quilt

By now, we hope you've heard about the amazing quilt that was made by the CU Mask Makers and donated to the Festival of Quilts. Thirty-four members of the group made squares out of scraps of fabric left over from making masks. Those squares represent around 8,000 masks made by those 34 participants.

Debbie Larson collected the squares and used her long arm quilting machine to attach it to the backing fabric. When she looked at the finished, vibrant quilt, she saw the good that a difficult situation has brought out in her community.
It is indeed a beautiful piece of art. Making this story even more special is that the person who purchased the quilt for $600 is a member of the CU Mask Makers!

Here are her words:
I am a CU Mask Maker. Although I was not able to contribute a block, I feel an emotional attachment to this quilt and I think it has historical signficance. It commemorates a collective effort by our community to protect our community in a time of great hazard.

So many people took up fablic and thread, needles and scissors --everyone from experienced fiber artists and fabric crafters to novice and never-before sewists. We came together spontaneously, with no organizing principle beyond a desire to help and, in some cases, possession of impressively large fabric stashes.

Facing a once-in-a-century public health crisis, our  local mask makers deployed their skills to protect the health and well-being of their friends, families and neighbors, healthcare providers and first responders, even total strangers--everyone essentially in Champaign-Urbana and other local areas, creating almost overnight, thousands and thousands of masks.

This quilt stands as a memorial to that undertaking and to the love of humanity at the heart of it.

From near and far

In addition to the health and safety of our community, another advantage to having the Festival of Quilts online was our reach. We had viewers and patrons from all over the country and shipped items to Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin!

Thank you again for your support of the Virtual Festival of Quilts and always! While it may have looked different this year, we feel blessed to have had the opportunity to continue this event which represents a tradition that has offered warmth, safety and love to Cunningham kids for 125 years.