Stitched History

Published 4:34 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

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JACKSON – The bright red, blue, yellow, and other colors of the Northampton County quilt make it hard to miss.

Each municipality in Northampton County is featured on a quilt that was recently unveiled and is on permanent display at the county’s Visitor Center in Jackson. Contributed Photo

Looking at it on display, a person’s eyes are immediately drawn to the outline of the county in the middle, and then to the surrounding squares which each represent Northampton’s nine towns in their own unique ways.

The quilt, which was spearheaded by the Northampton County Cultural Arts Committee, was unveiled at an event last month, and is now permanently on display the county’s Visitor Center in Jackson.

“It’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. We’re really proud of it,” said Judy Collier, who serves as Chair of the committee.

Collier explained that the project first began as a request from a county commissioner for a quilt that would celebrate all of the county’s municipalities. The arts committee has previously sponsored the creation of a similar Northampton County Black History quilt that is now on display at the Cultural and Wellness Center.

With ARP (American Rescue Plan) funding from NC Arts’ grassroots grant, the Northampton County quilt project was able to move forward.

“Then I went to the towns, and they gave me what they wanted to represent them on the quilt,” Collier explained.

Some chose images of iconic landmarks as their representation, such as the historic courthouse for Jackson and Northeast Academy for Lasker.

Others chose connections to their history, such as a train for Conway and the Quaker Meeting House for Woodland.

Towns like Garysburg, Seaboard, and Rich Square chose to incorporate references to agriculture in their images.

Gaston opted for a more modern approach with an image of their current town hall. And Severn listed several things that currently make up the heart of their small town, such as the Ruritan Club and Severn Peanut.

Suffolk-based artist Mona Cunnikin painted each town quilt square on canvas. Janette Workman did the quilting work to bring the art all together.

Mona Cunnikin (right) painted each town quilt square on canvas. She is shown here at the unveiling with Judy Collier, chair of the Northampton County Cultural Arts Committee. Contributed Photo

Cunnikin attended and spoke during the unveiling event, which was held on Sept. 14. Several local elected officials and community members were also in attendance to see the culmination of several months of hard work.

Collier said they are currently in the process of getting a permanent display case for the quilt in order to protect and preserve it for many years to come.

Everyone is welcome to stop by and view the quilt. The Northampton County Visitor Center, located at 127 West Jefferson Street, Jackson, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Northampton County Cultural Arts Committee was first formed in 2007 with the goal of brining more art to the community. Since then, they have sponsored and supported events that showcase local talent – including the annual Arts in the Park and Arts Uncorked events – and have brought in artists from across the state and country to visit the local school district.