CHAW Presents The Migrant Quilt Project

By Editorial Team on October 29, 2019

Mon, 28 October 2019 - Sat, 07 December 2019

Courtesy of CHAW.
Reception: Saturday, November 9 from 5pm to 6:30pm

On October 28th, the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop will unveil its newest exhibition the Migrant Quilt Project, a grassroots, collaborative effort of artists, quilt makers, and activists expressing compassion for migrants from Mexico and Central America who died in the Southern Arizona deserts. The quilts in this 18 piece collection memorialize the immigrants who have died in the Arizona desert each year since 2000. Materials used in the quilts were collected at migrant layup sites used for rest and shelter on established trails in the Sonoran Desert. The name of every one of these individuals is inscribed on the quilt, with the word “unknown” or “desconocido” used to designate an unidentified person’s remains.

Quilts reside squarely at the intersection of art and stories; of form and function. Like the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Migrant Quilt Project introduces a meta level for understanding the complex interplay of social, political, and emotional planes of a hot button topic in America (and elsewhere) as only art can.

Tangible evidence of this ultimate sacrifice ought to cause discomfort. Although most of us, somewhere in our lineage, have a migration story — whether our ancestors came to America by force or voluntarily — most of us will never know the dreams and the desperation stitched into these quilts.

Our goal with this exhibit is to increase awareness of issues facing immigrants coming to the United States and to promote a better understanding of their lived experiences.  Our hope is a collective consciousness-raising that can positively impact the way in which people treat each other.

The Migrant Quilt Project will be on display from October 28 through December 7, 2019 in two locations: CHAW’s Gallery at 545 7th St, SE and at Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St NE. There will be a reception on Saturday, November 9th from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at CHAW featuring Jody Ispen, the founder and director of the project. Free and open to all. CHAW’s general gallery hours are: 9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (M-Th), 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (F), and 9:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Sat).

Quilts at Lutheran Church of the Reformation can be viewed on Sundays throughout the exhibit from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. or by appointment by calling (202) 543-4200. For more information, visit or call (202) 547-6839.