The life of Prince will be celebrated in quilts at Textile Center


Nearly a year after the death of Prince, the Textile Center in southeast Minneapolis hosts an exhibition of quilts made in honor of the Purple One.

The show features pieces juried and curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, and includes quilts created by the Women of Color Quilters Network, which Mazloomi founded over 30 years ago.

The Textile Center reached out to Mazloomi about the show. “I loved the idea because I love Prince and his music, so it was wonderful to put this together,” she says. “It was a privilege.”

Quilters from all around the country submitted entries to be considered for the exhibition which, along with quilts made by WCQN members, includes 25 works.

One of Mazloomi’s favorite quilts in the show, by WCQN member Marjorie Freeman, is called Prince: The Quiet Philanthropist. “When people think about Prince, they think about his music, his voice, his costumes,” she says. “This artist dug deeply and addressed his philanthropy in a narrative quilt that references several organizations or entities he supported.”

From medical research to education, animal shelters and helping the poor, “he was really a giving person, and he never talked about that. He was so modest, and I find that really unique.”



Marliss Jansen, a Minneapolis-based quilter who used to dye fabric to make costumes for Prince and his backup singers, has a piece in the show. Over the years, Jansen saved the fabric samples. When she saw an open call for the exhibition, she created a work using the material.

“Having this custom-dyed fabric that was utilized by Prince and his backup singers and dancers -- that’s really a tribute,” says Mazloomi.

Other pieces in the show reference quilters’ favorite songs, including “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry.”

Mazloomi, a self-taught quilter, founded the Women of Color Quilters Network in 1985.

“I rarely saw other African American quilters, so I put an ad in a national quilting magazine,” she says. Nine people responded, and the network grew from there. Now, the group is at about 500 quilters.

These days, the network concentrates on exhibiting work. “Most of the women that exhibit are professional quilt makers, and over the years we’ve done at least a dozen exhibitions,” she says.




“Commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince”
There will be an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9.
The Textile Center
3000 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis
The exhibition runs through April 29.