Sunflowers are the symbol for Philly Thrive. This afternoon I met with two local contractors and other Philly Thrive volunteers to scope out how we can make our new headquarters space handicapped accessible and better equipped for meetings and gatherings. Even during my recovery from the knee replacement operation I had been working online and on the phone to help with leasing this space and getting the insurance we needed. Now that I’m more mobile I’m helping with fitting it out, though I’m finding that getting older has its disadvantages and advantages. Younger Thrivers are blowing right past me in moving things along and I’m fine with stepping aside to support them.
This week at the Philadelphia Museum of Art I came across a wonderful print in the American galleries that they’re in the process of installing. It’s called “Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles.” Here is the write-up on the PMA website.
Faith Ringgold, American, born 1930. In this lithograph, eight powerful African American women from the past and present display a colorful quilt that is a communal symbol of their achievements. From upper left they are Madam Walker, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells, Fannie Lou Hammer, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ella Baker. A ninth figure, on the lower left, is Willia Marie Simone, a fictional character created by the artist. Vincent van Gogh, well known for his paintings of sunflowers, stands to the right. Through words and text, symbol and metaphor, Ringgold acknowledges the contributions of African American women and honors their traditions. She is a painter, soft sculptor, quilter, performance artist, and author; and she always speaks in a clear voice that affirms women, especially African American women.
Not only does this picture blaze with sunflowers, it celebrates “powerful African American women” like those who started Philly Thrive, led us to success in our Right to Breathe campaign, and are moving our Right to Thrive campaign forward. If it were up to me, we’d hang a copy of “Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles” in our new offices.
Did I mention that I love sunflowers?