BRATTLEBORO >> The Lakota Quilt Raffle has become an enduring fundraiser for In-Sight Photography Project. The quilt symbolizes a link between Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and In-Sight in Vermont, and a celebration of the connection through In-Sight's Exposures Cross-Cultural Youth Arts Program.
The queen-sized quilt is made by Oglala Lakota Sioux seamstress, Andrea Marshall, who lives at Pine Ridge. In-Sight founder and photographer John Willis formed a lasting connection with Marshall after many trips to Pine Ridge. Eventually he was invited to photograph for his book, "View from the Reservation," published in 2010.
Willis currently has an exhibition of some of his work at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, through Oct. 23. The non-traditional, sub-standard housing he has encountered on Native American reservations in both South Dakota and Arizona comprises the subject matter for many of the photographs in the exhibit.
Marshall's quilt is a beautiful example of the lone star quilt, an important figure in Sioux ceremonies. It represents the direction from which spirits travel to earth, and it is a link between the living and the dead, thus symbolizing immortality. Today, lone star quilts are one of the most valued gifts of the Sioux people, often made for "give-away" events such as memorial feasts, funerals, celebrations, naming ceremonies, and marriages.
Tickets for the quilt are one for $5, five for $20, 30 for $100. Tickets are available at three locations: In-Sight Photography Project at 45 Flat Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays; online at www.insight-photography.org/insight/support/Lakota-Quilt-Raffle; and at Brattleboro Pharmacy, 13 Canal Street. Brattleboro Pharmacy, the sponsor of the raffle, provides funds for In-Sight to purchase the quilt from Marshall.
The drawing is on Dec. 2 at Gallery Walk, and ticket sales are limited to 300 — which means that if you buy 30 tickets, you have a one-in-ten chance of winning the quilt.
Proceeds from the raffle support scholarships for In-Sight's Exposures Cross-Cultural Youth Arts Program. This intensive summer workshop uses the arts as a common language among youth from diverse communities. Exposures brings together youth from across the country to explore photography, place, and culture.
The In-Sight Photography Project and its Exposures Cross-Cultural Youth Arts Program empower youth, through photography, to find their own creative voices and to communicate their unique personal visions. Classes in photographic arts are provided regardless of ability to pay. Curriculum is guided by understanding and respect for individuals, communities, and cultures.
Since 1992, In-Sight has served over 3,000 youth. In-Sight is a private non-profit supported by donations, grants, fundraising events, and program fees, and its scholarship fund allows program access for all youth who want to learn photography. More information is available online by visiting www.insight-photography.org or by calling 802-251-9960.