Karen Dietz Colglazier ‘70, MA ‘74, attended the Butler University Alumni Creates art shows that were part of Homecoming from 2010 to 2012, and thought: It’s too bad her artform—quilting—couldn’t be part of the event. But at that time, there wasn’t a way to display quilts in Clowes Memorial Hall without risk of damage.
Now there is.
Thanks to a gift from Colglazier and her husband, Bud, Clowes Hall Stage Tech John Lucas had the resources to devise a rigging system that will enable quilts, and other large visual art pieces, to be displayed against what previously had been blank walls.
The hanging system Lucas created, which is similar to the mechanism used to adjust Venetian blinds, can raise and lower artwork up to a height of 20 feet. There will be 10 systems placed throughout Clowes Hall, creating a potential 2,400 square feet of additional wall space for art.
“These innovative hanging systems enable us to display antique, as well as contemporary, art quilts out of reach, but still be fully viewed by visitors to Clowes,” Colglazier says.
Clowes Hall visitors will get their first look at the rigging system and how it functions March 19-June 7 at Imagine the Possibilities: An Exhibition of Quilts, a free, three-part exhibition that includes quilts and quilt-inspired fine art from Indiana based artists, showcasing many quilts from private collections.
The exhibition begins with Antique, Vintage and Traditional Quilts (March 19-April 12), followed by Transitional Quilts (April 16-May 10), and Contemporary Art Quilts and Fiber Art (May 14-June 7). Each exhibition will have a featured quilt that is representative of the genre being exhibited.
Many of the quilts that will be displayed are more than 100 years old, and include styles such as Baltimore Album and crazy quilts–”all different genres of beautiful quilts,” Colglazier says.
The idea of a high rail hanging system grew out of the shared vision of Colglazier and Clowes Hall Community Relations Manager James Cramer, who were trying to determine how to hang quilts in Clowes in a way that made them inaccessible, but still viewable. Colglazier says Butler First Lady Bethanie Danko, who will have a quilt in the third exhibition, described the new hanging system as being “transformative for the visual arts at Clowes Hall.”
“This isn’t just a quilt exhibition,” Colglazier says. “This is the beginning of imagining the possibilities of the potential for the future of the visual arts and art education at Clowes.”
Cramer says Lucas’s invention “is expanding what we can do and how we can serve our visual arts community.” He says he generally agrees with Evans Woollen, the architect who designed Clowes Hall, who said that “the architecture was the art and the people were what brought the life to the building.”
“However,” Cramer says, “what we are doing now is not so much covering walls but giving our patrons, young and old, an enhanced experience when they come to Clowes Hall.”
The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.