New Exhibit at FIT’s Ruth Funk Center for the Textile Arts

Calling all Textile lovers! FIT’s School of Arts and Communication in conjunction with the FIT Textiles minor are pleased to announce the newest exhibit at Florida Tech’s Ruth Funk Center for the Textiles arts. The Center will host a new exhibit titled “Florida in Fabric: Wish You Were Here!” May 20-August18, 2012. As part of the juried quilt show, the Center will present Yvonne Porcella: Quilt Selections 1986 – 2012.

Yvonne Porcella takes quilting to a unique level of accomplished artistry. She will feature quilts from the artist’s recent retrospective at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock, CA, as well as contemporary work inspired by the State of Florida.  Founder and past President of the Board of Directors of Studio Art Quilt Associates, Porcella has taught and lectured throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Japan. Her quilts are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (1)

Students within Florida Institute of Technology’s School of Arts and Communication as well as those interested in the new FIT Textiles minor  will be interested to learn more about the historic and political significance of the art of quilt making in America. In fact, quilting has long played an integral part in our nation’s history. As a creative form of artistic and political expression, a platform for story-telling, fund raising as well as a medium for community interaction, it is the perfect combination of form and function. Quilts often serve a utilitarian purpose while also acting as a beautiful document of artistry and history.

Florida Tech’s Arts and Communication students may be surprised to learn that by the end of the Civil War in 1865, it is estimated that women in the US North quilted nearly 250,000 quilts and comforters for Union soldiers. Southern women also made items known as “gunboat quilts” to raise funds that eventually purchased three ironclad gunboats for the Rebel cause. As the American Civil War began in earnest, quilts were even sold to raise funds for medical supplies for the Confederacy, according to quilt historians. Students interested in FIT’s Textiles minor will be surprised to learn that fabric eventually became a scarce commodity in the starved South, and Confederate women made their own homespun fabric by picking apart items like old mattresses. Few Civil War-era quilts survive today, experts say, because they were lost or worn out and thrown away, and in some cases, used to wrap soldiers for burial. (2)

Quilts have a long and interesting history in the development of our nation, and are important in nearly every culture around the world. The original intent for quilts was to serve a functional purpose which has evolved greatly over time. Whether used as a bed or wall covering or as a textural artistic expression piece, quilts maintain their importance in our culture today. Be sure to join FIT’s School of Arts and Communication and the Textile minor program in supporting the newest exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts to learn more about Florida’s own history illustrated through the beautiful quilts on display.

To celebrate opening day, Porcella will be presenting a free gallery tour at the Funk Center on Saturday, May 19 at 2 p.m.

For more information on the upcoming exhibit on on Yvonne Porcella’s gallery talk please visit the Ruth Funk Center for the Textiles Arts. The Center is open to the public Tuesday – Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m.  For more information, call (321) 674-8313.

Images provided courtesy of the Ruth Funk Center for the Textile Arts
Photo: Wonderland, Yvonne Porcella, 2012.  Photo by Cathie Hoover.


  1. Ruth Funk Center for the Textile Arts,
  2. Parker, Melody. “Covered in Glory: Commemorative, Antique Civil War Quilts featured in new Grout Museum Exhibit.”, Jan 22, 2012.
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