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DHS News November 2012

Story Quilt Decorates HSB Lobby

Visitors to the Human Services Building are now greeted by a temporary new addition: a story quilt made by the Lincoln Park Family Center youth and staff under the guidance of Tina Williams Brewer, master quilter.

The quilt was created as part of a residency program sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development and Gateway to the Arts. Through the program, artists visited 19 DHS-funded Family Support Centers to create artwork for the 2012 Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) and Allegheny County Family Support Conference. The projects included an early literacy component using the critically acclaimed children's book, "Whoever You Are" by Mem Fox, which is the theme for the Lincoln Park Family Center’s quilt.

After receiving additional funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Gateway to the Arts was able to offer the Lincoln Park Family Center an enhanced, 20-session residency to create the quilt that is on display. The quilt’s creators, who range in age from 8 to 14 years old, used the quilt as an opportunity to voice their hopes, dreams and concerns about the environment and the world. Each child created two fabric blocks to represent their portrait, vision, stories and feelings: One block was included in the quilt, and the second block was made into a “meditation packet” in the form of a pillow that was taken home. The quilting and finishing was done by Ms. Brewer under the direction of the youth.

With close examination, viewers of the quilt are able to see and “read’ the picture messages of the children and youth. The color green was chosen to represent the creators’ desire for a green environment and the need to care for the planet. African symbols also appear in green and represent courage, royalty, love and wisdom.

“The Human Services Building is the perfect place for us to share Lincoln Park Family Center’s beautiful story quilt with the broader community. In addition to being the primary funder of our county’s Family Support Centers, DHS recently made it possible for parent leaders from across the county to come together to learn about, and experience, the role of art and play in healthy child development at our joint conference with PAEYC,” said Laura Townsend, director of the Family Support Policy Board of Allegheny County.

The quilt will be on display through the end of January 2013.

Learn more on the  DHS Family Support Centers section of the DHS Family and Parent Support webpage.

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