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Snite Museum hosts sewing circle

Evelyn Huang | Thursday, February 21, 2013


A sewing circle today at the Snite Museum of Art will allow members of the Notre Dame community to contribute stitches to an art project spearheaded by contemporary artist Marie Watt. 

The project is part of the “Dreams Wiser than Waking: Recent Acquisitions of Native American Prints” exhibit, according to Cheryl Snay, curator of European art at the Snite. Watt, one of the exhibit’s featured artists, will lead the event from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m

At the sewing circle, participants will contribute stitches to a set structure of blankets and fabric that Watt has created, which will eventually culminate into a greater piece of art, Snay said. No sewing experience is necessary, and everyone from the South Bend and Notre Dame communities is invited to join and receive a small silkscreen print from Watt. 

Snay said this is a great way to promote a welcoming atmosphere and extend the Snite’s outreach in the community.

“We want people to come to the Snite and to think of the Snite as a warm and welcoming place where people can share stories and experiences,” she said. “Ultimately, we are trying to cultivate this kind of attitude, and there are many opportunities to participate in art in a variety of fashions.”

Furthermore, this sewing circle is a way to tie together Notre Dame students with the surrounding community, Snay said.

“This event was designed for all students, not just art students,” she said. “We also want to foster an environment where the general community can come in and interact with the faculty, staff and students. Everyone can benefit from these mutual experiences.”

Watt’s idea that art should be participatory and community building is reflected in the nature of the project, Snay said, because everyone that adds a stitch to the structure is contributing to a greater work of art.

“Watt considers someone’s stitches their signatures, so she will not change them,” Snay said. “She feels as if their stitches are their contribution.”

After hosting the sewing circle at the University, Watt will bring the structure to another museum or campus where more people can add to the piece. 

While the sewing circle is just for today, the “Dreams Wiser than Waking” exhibit will stay at the Snite until Mar. 17. This exhibit, located in the Milly and Fritz Kaeser Mestrovic Studio, showcases Native American art that is interested in straddling two worlds, Snay said.

“They question how they can negotiate between their culture and the “dominant culture,” this is a lot of what their art is about,” she said.