Amish Quilts at the Springfield Museum of Art

A gallery owner will speak on Wednesday.


Having just experienced the coldest days of the year so far, it’s a perfect time to snuggle under a warm quilt. But have you ever considered the artistic value of a quilt? The Springfield Museum of Art will be showcasing six Amish quilts through March 3 as part of their “Outside in Ohio” exhibit.

Christina Schelle, membership and communications coordinator for the Springfield Museum of Art, said the quilts are on loan from Tim Keny of Keny Galleries in Columbus. “On Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m., the public is invited to hear Keny talk about the tradition of Amish quilts. He is co-owner of the gallery, and he specializes in folk, contemporary and historic art, and portraiture,” said Schelle.

“The exhibit is comprised of five historic Holmes County, Ohio, quilts and one Lancaster, Pa., quilt,” said Keny. “My wife and I are avid collectors, and we have been researching Amish culture and collecting the art since the mid-1980s.”

The Ohio quilts on display are from a sect of Ohio Amish called the Swartzentruber Amish.

“They are the most traditional of all Amish,” said Keny. “These quilts are darker, using blacks and more subtle color combinations. They are the most restrained, elemental, beautifully designed and quilted.”

Keny says the Amish tradition goes against that of English and other American-made quilts, which are more elaborate, appliqued and more vibrant.

“There is a perception that folk art is not as important or as powerful as academic art, and that’s simply not the case,” said Keny. “In fact, Robert Hughes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic once said they are ‘as much a part of the story of high aesthetic effort as any painting or sculpture.’ There is much more recognition being given to this form of art by the scholars of our history now.”

Visitors to his Wednesday presentation will hear about the differences between Amish and traditional quilts in the 1880 to 1940 time period, as well as discussion about what makes them art statements.

“I encourage everyone to come see these powerful and beautiful visual statements by artists who are mostly anonymous,” said Keny.



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