Meet & Greet planned this weekend with talented quilting artists at Museum of the Gulf Coast

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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As a follow-up to the exhibit, African American Quilters of the Gulf Coast, now on display at the Museum of the Gulf Coast through Dec. 6, an “Artists Meet and Greet and Quilt Talk” is planned this weekend.

Participating quilt artists from Florida, Louisiana and Texas are gathering to meet attendees and converse about their works in the show, their artistic inspiration, and their personal quilt journeys.

Everyone is encouraged to join in the conversation and be inspired.

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The event starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at the museum, 700 Procter St. in Port Arthur.

African American Quilters are displaying their works of extraordinary artistry in an exhibit of more than 25 quilts and garments in all themes in conjunction with the National African American Quilt Guild (NAAQG).

Since opening Oct. 1, many in the community have come out to enjoy the exhibit. Some returned more than once and are bringing friends or encouraging friends, neighbors, community groups, quilters, art fans, history buffs and others to attend.

Saturday’s “Meet and Greet” features Florida quilter and doll-maker Kianga Jinaki, who has two pieces in the exhibit, including “Say it Loud” inspired by the James Brown classic.

Vernita Graves of Louisiana will also be in attendance and sharing a few of her favorite quilts.

Kim Dunbar of Houston, whose quilt entitled “Modern Day Strange Fruit” is getting attention from exhibit viewers for its unique representation of a difficult subject matter; and Rhonda Masters, who also has two quilts on display, will be in attendance.

Other quilter makers from the NAAQG also plan to attend.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the community – whoever is curious about quilts or quilting in general – we love to talk about it! And we’re also excited to see each other in person because we mainly meet on the Internet/Zoom. For some, it will be our first time to meet each other, as well,” Masters said.

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie recently visited the exhibit with NAAQG Co-Founder, exhibit organizer, and Port Arthur resident Rhonda Masters.

She said, “The Mayor thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. It was not what he had expected.”

In a social media post, Bartiee challenged everyone to come and visit the exhibit. It was thrilling because he complimented the artistry and craftsmanship on display in Port Arthur.

Two of NAAQG’s co-founders, Rhonda Masters and Laura Casmore, are Port Arthurans who come from families of quilt makers. Both have been quilting for more than ten years.

They met through the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild, of which they are longtime members, and bonded through their love of African fabrics and the storytelling components so distinctive in African American quilts (art quilts especially).

“I have been making quilts for ten years,” Masters said. “I was inspired by many things I learned and saw in GTQG. I love the community service aspect of what they do.”

They invite everyone to come and get involved in the arts and uplift the culture in a positive, interesting, fun and creative way.

The public is also invited to attend a free workshop at the Port Arthur Public Library Nov. 10, when quilters will get creative and do a fiber arts postcard project together.

All supplies are provided. For more on that, you can visit the PAPL website or Facebook page.

Museum curator Robert Fong is excited to work with a homegrown organization to bring this first-time exhibit to the area.

“Gulf Coast quilters have a unique perspective from growing up and living close to the Gulf,” he said. “We have so many interesting and varied styles in this exhibit. African, Avant-garde, political and traditional themes are on display here. And the fact that Laura and Rhonda want to do more to promote the arts in our community is just great!

“We’re excited that our visitors are enjoying the exhibit, and we are also getting new visitors who have come because they have heard about the quilts. This exhibit will be here through December, so you still have time to come and enjoy them. A perfect thing to do leading into the holidays.”


The National African American Quilt Guild (NAAQG) was founded in October 2021 by quilting colleagues Rhonda Masters, Laura Casmore, and Sharon Mooney of Texas. The mission of NAAQG is to promote and uplift the history and legacy of African American quilters and quilting. The group encourages creativity, promotes and facilitates education in the art of quilting, and celebrates the heritage of African American quilting while serving the community at large through unique culturally and community-inspired service projects.

The group’s motto is “Celebration, Education, and Service!” and today has members in 23 states. NAAQG continues to grow steadily and expand its goal of providing cultural engagement opportunities for African American quilting with museums, galleries, quilt organizations, and other groups across the nation. Two of the founding members are from Port Arthur and have quilts on display. CoFounder Rhonda Masters will moderate Saturday’s panel discussion with the out-of-state and local area quilt makers, and she and Casmore will be the instructors for the free fiber arts postcard workshop at the Port Arthur Public Library, also referenced above.