Getting Scrappy

Arlingtonians donated hundreds of yards of fabric for a community art project. None of it went to waste.
Amanda Browder, City Of Threads Photographed By Dawn Whitmore

City of Threads at Arlington Arts Center. Photo by Dawn Whitmore

Last summer, the Arlington Arts Center (AAC) mounted City of Threads, a large-scale fabric art installation in which artist Amanda Browder wrapped the exterior of AAC’s Virginia Square building in swaths of colorful fabric. “City of Threads was a communal effort from the beginning,” says AAC executive director Holly Koons, “created from fabric donated by community members that was then sewn by volunteers under the direction of the artist.”

Debra Wright Featured With Her Masks

Artist Debra Wright. Courtesy of Debra Wright

The project’s impact did not end there. Making good use of its ample stash of leftover fabric, local artist Debra Wright and a group of volunteers next began using the remnants to make quilts for the homeless, ultimately donating 75 quilts to two nonprofits in D.C.—the hunger relief effort Food Not Bombs and The Peace House, an anti-racism organization.

Quilts Laid Out On The Floor Of Aac's Tiffany Gallery Photographed By Debra Wright

Quilts made from leftover fabric. Courtesy of Debra Wright

When the coronavirus arrived in full force in March, Wright still had leftover fabric, so she started making masks. She has donated more than 900 to date, to a variety of good causes. “I couldn’t think of a better way to honor the fabric donors,” Wright says, “than to take their material and turn it into items that are so desperately needed.”

Categories: Community