Quilt Peace was constructed on September 20. Two weeks later someone tried to kill it.EXPAND
Quilt Peace was constructed on September 20. Two weeks later someone tried to kill it.
Photo by Terry St. John

Midtown Art Vandals Due for a Karmic Reckoning

Quilting is the truth.

That's not something you hear very often, but it's probably what the people who attend the yearly International Quilt Festival say to themselves as they pull up to the George R. Brown Convention Center.

If you haven't heard of the event, either you don't care about quilts or you're just a mean person who can't appreciate the love that flows from quilts. Even so, there are thousands, somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 to 60,000 people, who come to compete in quilt competitions and enjoy all things quilts at this H-town event.

But despite that massive popularity for quilting enthusiasts, at least one rotten egg is trying to spoil the fun. Last week a vandal waged war on quilting.

Well, that might not be exactly accurate. But what did happen was that an eight-foot sculpture dedicated to the Houston quilting event, created by the local nonprofit Community Arts Collective through a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, was destroyed.

The piece, titled "Quilt Peace," portrayed a couple of figures getting down with some quilting action. The quilt was represented by some multicolored squiggly lines, which makes the sculpture pretty endearing.

The work, which was erected on San Jacinto just off Cleburne, was part of the walk-up to the quilt convention, which takes place in November.

"They weren't really damaged, which is kind of strange," explains Terry St. John, a spokesperson for the arts organization.

A police report was filed. So HPD knows what you did, whoever you are.
A police report was filed. So HPD knows what you did, whoever you are.
Photo by Lynda Guidry/Courtesy of Terry St. John

Five steel pieces were pulled apart, allegedly through the use of heavy tools, according to folks at the arts organization. All of the parts were just left on the ground, but nothing was too damaged.

"This is an insult to the cultural arts," St. John says. The piece had only been up two weeks since it was erected on September 20. The idea was for it to travel around Midtown after sticking around downtown for three months.

"It really beautifies the city," St. John says about public art in Houston, which she says is getting a new life in the area. More art in public places is giving the city its shine.

The arts organization plans to redo the sculpture and put it back in the same spot, but bolt it down into the ground. The extra expense wasn't included in the original grant, which St. John says was already "modest."

There's also a chance that the area will have surveillance the next time the art piece goes back up. "You can get pretty cheap cameras nowadays," she says.

The next time vandals try to take apart a public sculpture dedicated to quilting, they need to think again, because streets are watching.

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