Ruth Funk Center to Premiere Quilt Show on Refugee Crisis

36 Quilts Inspired by Timely Topic          

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech’s Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts will debut Forced to Flee, an exhibition of three dozen quilts touching on the global refugee crisis, on Saturday, May 25.

Doors open at noon.

The focus of Forced to Flee, a juried exhibition organized by the international organization Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), is in keeping with the art quilt tradition of challenging the notion that quilting is a “comfortable art form,” noted exhibition juror Susan Beryl Marks, a quilt scholar and artist.

Artists from around the world were encouraged to illustrate migrant-related issues, including the impact on families and communities, the stress placed on host countries, and the need for new initiatives, funding and international cooperation to find solutions. The 36 quilts in the exhibition tackle subjects ranging from human conflict to natural disasters.

“SAQA is delighted to continue our collaboration with the Ruth Funk Center, premiering a world-class exhibition focused on a critical issue facing our world today,” SAQA Executive Director Martha Sielman said.

In conjunction with Forced to Flee, the Ruth Funk Center will also present over seventy-five satin-stitched embroideries and illusion-knitted works by Austrian artist and activist Tanja Boukal. Boukal’s art examines socio-political themes, often exposing the challenges of marginalized people in difficult situations. The Center’s exhibition will feature two series – Unfinished and Those in Darkness Drop from Sight – which both explore women’s rights, violence and political revolution. 

Both exhibitions will be on view through Aug. 24.

The May 25 opening day will be a busy one around the Center.

  • At 1:30 p.m., Susan Beryl Marks, will lead a gallery tour of selected works. The tour is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.
  • At 2:30 p.m., the Center will then host the “Not Your Grandma’s Quilt Sale” fundraiser. This free event features an outdoor reception and showcase of handmade works for purchase. Quilters from across Brevard County donated over 100 small-scale art quilts, the sale of which will benefit the Center. All proceeds will support the Center and the care of its global textile collection.

Hours for the Ruth Funk Center are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The center is located on the Florida Tech campus in Melbourne, 150 W. University Blvd. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call 321-674-8313.


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