Home Programs The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers from 21st-Century America

The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers from 21st-Century America

An exhibition of American quilts commissioned by the U.S. Embassy-Beijing, which toured through China from 2012–2013.


Quiltmaking has always been an important tradition in America, and the many styles of American quilts reflect the diversity of the United States itself. The Sum of Many Parts featured 25 contemporary quilters from the Midwest, the South, and Hawaii. Touring across China from 2012–2013, this exhibition highlighted a range of quilting styles and techniques while providing an opportunity for Chinese audiences to connect with American culture through our shared love of textile arts.

Tour Locations

The exhibition toured to six venues throughout China, and one venue in the United States:

  • Shanghai Museum of Textile and Costume at Donghua University in Shanghai
  • Yunnan Nationalities Museum in Kunming, Yunnan Province
  • Guangxi Museum of Nationalities in Nanning, Guangxi Province
  • Dalian Modern Museum in Dalian, Liaoning Province
  • Wuhan Museum in Wuhan, Hunan Province
  • Beijing Museum of Women and Children in Beijing
  • State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa

Partnerships and support

The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers from 21st-Century America was a program conceived and sponsored by the United States Embassy-Beijing. The exhibition and its tour throughout the People’s Republic of China was jointly developed and managed by Arts Midwest and South Arts, with additional assistance from the Great Lakes Quilt Center at Michigan State University.

Partial funding provided by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Additional support from Rhoda A. Pierce.

Additional support from Alabama State Council on the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, Iowa Arts Council, Kentucky Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Mississippi Arts Commission, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and South Dakota Arts Council. The exhibition’s presentation in Iowa has been made possible by the Iowa Arts Council and State Historical Museum of Iowa.