REXBURG — A special exhibit that tells the stories of refugees will be on display in Rexburg from Sept. 15 through Oct. 10.
A group called Artisans for Hope worked with refugees coming to Idaho from many different countries, allowing them to create beautiful quilt pieces that the Idaho Commission on the Arts is loaning to the Museum of Rexburg for a short time.
They will be on display for free during the Heritage Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, in the Rexburg Tabernacle, and before and after that between Sept. 15 and Oct. 10 they will be in the museum.
Museum hours are now Mondays 5-7 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Museum curator Jackie Rawlins said they would love to be open more often, but the museum is run by volunteers, and they are still looking for more.
The colorful quilts tell a range of stories, both sad and happy.
One quilt in particular upon first glance is a pleasant, happy scene of a couple getting married, but on closer inspection one sees a deeper story: people with guns and people hiding in trees.
“There’s more to that story,” Rawlins said.
She said these quilts can allow those who view the exhibit to have a human connection to those people coming to Idaho in search of peace and relief.
Artisans for Hope, a volunteer-driven organization in Boise, seeks to help incoming refugees develop the skill base, language acquisition and confidence to integrate into a new community by building on the traditional fiber-related handcraft skills and interests of refugees.
The organization trains refugees in textile-related handcraft skills, giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in an ESL learning experience. In using fabrics and materials, the refugees can be creative and express themselves in a unique manner. Artisans for Hope also enables the refugees to sell their crafts to earn an income.
The exhibit of quilts stitched by refugees working for Artisans for Hope volunteers was produced by the Idaho Commission on the Arts with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.