The Milwaukee Art Quilters

The Milwaukee Art Quilters (MArQ) make contemporary art quilts, pursue exhibit and competition opportunities, and support each other’s artistic growth.


Milwaukee Art Quilters Timeline

Compiled by Suzanne Mouton Riggio, December 2008

1992      The Milwaukee Art Quilters began life on March 30.  Necia Wallace had sent postcards to discontented members of the North Shore Quilt Guild who thought the guild was too traditional.  Necia remembers 7 original members.  Judy Levine remembers 3; Jane Walton remembers 5.  The art quilters met monthly on the first Monday in each others’ homes.

1992     Ann Fahl  of Racine coined the logo: MArQ.

1995     Membership reached 14: Necia Wallace, Judy Levine, Jane Walton, Barbara Ritchey, Ann Fahl, Edi Burns, Mary Heyer, Rise Kaiser, Nino Kipshidze, Marcia Romashko, Jeanne Smith, Tricia Spitzmueller, Connie Tresch, and Pat Zalewski.

1995     MArQ had an exhibit called “Quilts: Contemporary Art” at Mount Mary College.
Necia Wallace remembers that were 2 shows on a top floor of the building where the art department lived.  Both shows had extensive television coverage from ABC.

1995  MArQ exhibited at the Brown Deer Library.

1996  Membership reached 15.

1996  Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, hosted MArQ’s exhibit, “Great Lakes.” Again, thanks to Necia Wallace’s efforts, there was extensive television coverage.

1997     Wisconsin Lutheran College showed “Beyond the Bed” by MArQ.

1997     First Round Robin was begun.  Members brought bits in a bag, drew a different bag to take home to work on, brought them back, and exchanged bags again.  This went on for 4 months. The quilts went to the owners of the first bags.

1997     Monne’s Gallery in Kenosha, WI, showed quilts by MArQ members.

1998     The First Round Robin was shown at Virginia Beach, VA.

1998-99  Wisconsin Lutheran College hosted “Gifts of the Season.”

1999-2000  A challenge called “Timepieces” was put together by MArQ members.  Each person drew a time and made 2 quilts.  For example, 6 o’clock would show 6 AM and 6 PM..

A remarkable thing happened.  Necia Wallace noticed a news blurb about New Zealand quilters also having an exhibit called “Timepieces.”  She contacted them with the news of the coincidence and was invited to send the Milwaukee “Timepieces” to New Zealand, where they would join those quilters in having the world’s first quilt show of the new century at 1 minute after midnight on January 1, 2000, in Christ Church, NZ, and, a few weeks later in Auckland, NZ.

Necia ran into opposition from some members of MArQ who thought the cost of shipping was not worth it.  But she prevailed, and MArQ’s 24 quilts traveled to New Zealand to Christ Church and Auckland.  In return, New Zealand quilts came to Milwaukee later to participate in one of MArQ’s shows at Wisconsin Lutheran College.  In addition, the curator of the New Zealand show visited in Milwaukee.

2000     “Timepieces” was shown in Paducah, Kentucky, at the American Quilter’s Society show and at the Autograph Party and at King’s Sewing Center, also in Paducah; in Slinger; in West Bend; and in Mukwonago, the latter three in Wisconsin.

2000     Membership was 20.

2000     Second Round Robin

2000     Wisconsin Lutheran College showed “Timepieces.”

2001  MArQ underwent a kind of self-evaluation of its goals.  The upshot was that new members were asked, not only to show interest, but to actively participate in the creation of art quilts.

2001  In several years prior to 2001, because of the increase in MArQ’s size, Pat Zalewski had graciously hosted MArQ in a community room in her apartment building downtown.  A decline in Pat’s health caused the members to search for a new place.  Because members lived in far-flung locations all over southeast Wisconsin, it was decided that a more centrally located place was needed. A space at Plank Road Publishing in Brookfield was donated by Teresa and Paul Jennings, Suzanne Riggio’s daughter and son-in-law.

2001  Wisconsin Lutheran College held an auction, “Off the Wall,” in which MArQ participated.  There were sales.

2001  MArQ members participated in the International Textile Symposium in Tblisi, Georgia, by attending (Tricia Spitzmueller) and sending quilts in Tricia’s luggage.

2001     Membership was 24.

2002     Third Round Robin

2002  A challenge called “Circle of Life” went to AQS in Nashville, TN.

2003     “Circle of Life” was shown at Wisconsin Lutheran College along with other quilts. For the first time, MArQ art was featured in the Schlueter Gallery.

2003  “Windshield Visions,” a challenge using a windshield shape, won Best of Show at the Nashville show of the American Quilter’s Society.

2003  “Windshield Visions” was shown at the annual Wisconsin Quilters Inc. Bee in Oshkosh, WI, and at the Ben Franklin Festival in Oconomowoc, Wi.

2003  A group of MArQ quilts were shown at the Wisconsin Arts Board in Madison, WI.

2004     Mount Mary College showed the MArQ Round Robin quilts from 2001, calling the exhibit “TogetherWorks.”  Each quilt was accompanied by photographs of the changes each quilter made to the original piece.  Other MArQ quilts were also exhibited to help fill the space.

2004  “Windshield Visions” was shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX.

2004  “Windshield Visions” was shown at the Hope Network in Memoninee Falls, WI, and at Nancy’s Notions’ first Quilting Expo in Beaver Dam, WI.

2004  “Name that Tune” won 1st prize at the Nashville show of the American Quilter’s Society.

2005   “Name that Tune” was shown at the Crazy Quilter’s show in Mukwonago, Wi.

2005  The “Name That Tune” exhibit was shown in Lancaster, PA.

2005 The “Windshields Visions” exhibit was shown in Lancaster, PA  (?)

2006 “Self Portrait of the Artist as an Animal” won 3rd place at the AQS show in Nashville, TN

2007  “Self Portrait of the Artist as an Animal” exhibit was shown in Lancaster, PA. (?)

2006  The small challenge was “Is There a Poem in that Quilt?”

2006  “Opposing Forces,” the large challenge, was exhibited in AQS’s show in Nashville.

2007  The Poem quilts were shown at the library in Franklin, WI.

2007  The yearly challenge was “Wings.” Not enough people made quilts to enable MArQ to enter the show in Nashville.

2007  The small challenge was “Coffeepots” in three dimensions, which was shown at Cafe Forte in Mequon, WI.

2008  “Opposing Forces” and the Poem quilts were shown at Clement Manor in Milwaukee.

2008  Poem quilts were hung at the Autograph Party at the AQS Show in Paducah.

2008  “Windshield Visions” was part of a special showing of quilts which had won awards at major shows at the LaConner Textile Musuem in Washington state.

2008  “Grab Bags” was the small challenge.

2008  “On Point” quilts, the large challenge, were exhibited in Nashville’s AQS Show.

2008  Work began on 2 challenges: the large one called “Portals” and the small one called “Tea.”

2008  Membership stood at 58.  However, members who did not show up for a year would be placed on the inactive list.

Timeline continued by Chris Lynn Kirsch

2009 Large challenge – Portals. Accepted into the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge in Grand Rapids.

2010 Large challenge – Line of Design. Won third place at the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge in Grand Rapids. Collection was displayed at Ben Franklin Quilt Fest in Oconomowoc, the Wow Gallery in Wittenberg, Quilt Expo in Madison

Small challenge – Common Objects. Collection was displayed at the UWW art gallery in Waukesha

2011 Large challenge – The Blues. Accepted into the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge in Grand Rapids. Displayed at the Plymouth Gallery, and UWW, along with Name That Tune.

Complex Cloth – A small challenge in which members experimented with surface design as they passed around each other’s original cloth.

Small challenge #2 was Red and White. These quilts were featured in a magazine.

Name That Tune was revisited as a smaller challenge. All the Name That Tune quilts were displayed at the Art Gallery in Plymouth Wisconsin

Jennings Homestead – made as a gift for Theresa and Paul Jennings in appreciation for allowing us to hold our meetings in their building. Exhibited often and award winning, including a third place in group quilts at the AQS show in Paducah, KY. Also featured in Quilting Arts Magazine. All the information can be found at:

2012 Large challenge – Bead Inspired. Won third place at the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge in Grand Rapids.

2013 Large challenge – Color Wheel Opposites. Accepted into the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge in Grand Rapids.

Small challenge – Inspired by Nancy. a special tribute to the creativity and joy of living that Nancy Kimpel personified.  Each quilt uses Nancy’s fabrics. This grouping was displayed at UWW, the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art, and other venues in Wisconsin.

Small challenge #2 – Objet D’arc. Each quilt was made from a vintage Dresden Plate arc. Displayed at the Milwaukee Machine Quilting show in Oconomowoc

2014 Large challenge – Heavy Metal. Accepted into the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge in Grand Rapids.

Small challenge – 3-D Abodes.

2015 Large challenge – Black and White Plus One


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s