Celebrating "A Piece-ful Protest" in Laguna Beach and Beyond
Art by Allyson Allen
Introduction by Andrew Tonkovich
This issue spotlights a singular visual artist whose work, briefly hung at a Laguna Beach bank, was removed from display after “complaints” from customers, only to receive overwhelming community support, increased media attention, and a more welcoming and supportive venue elsewhere, with sponsorship by Community Art Project (CAP). In a gesture of exhilarating political solidarity, Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach hosts quilt artist, teacher and cultural worker extraordinaire Allyson Allen’s “Piece-Ful Protest” through April 24. This bespoke “gallery” presentation of her work is a must-see show. It's free to the public, and open noon-3 PM in Bridge Hall on Thursdays through Sundays at the church, 340 St. Ann's Drive, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.
The images, craft, multi-form wit and wonder, and unshy militant politics of Allen's art both startle and affirm. Here's how she characterizes her work: "My unique, original story quilts are considered information art. My quilts combine art, craft, research, original design, history and culture in traditional and contemporary pieces exemplifying a cross-disciplinary approach to quilt making. My work often references American history, social issues, African folklore, or Black history. Many of my quilts are created specifically for storytelling presentations. My handmade quilted journals usually incorporate recycled materials, fabric, and stitched paper elements."
The show features a total of thirty-eight remarkable pieces exploring urgent themes, with satisfying anger, empathy and emotional intelligence so particularly responsive to our moment. And the space turns out to be perfect, of course. For a more comprehensive consideration and excellent review by reporter Marrie Stone of Stu News Laguna check out "Art in action: Allyson Allen’s Piece-ful Protest exhibition proves its point – there’s plenty more work to be done." Thanks to Allyson Allen, who generously shared these images with Citric Acid. She is the author of two books, Quilted Pages - Story Art Quilts and Cloth * Paper * Stitch & Glue - Mixed Media Projects Altered Book Art. Visit her website.
From the Laguna Art Museum Exhibit, up through Mid-April, 2022
Allyson Allen uses traditional materials to create unique, dimensional textile art, quilts, dolls, and handmade books. She is a multiple California Arts Council grant award recipient, twice nominated for NEA National Heritage Fellowship consideration, and has been recognized for three decades as an award-winning Master African American Quilt and Doll Artist by the state of California. The characteristics of her unique, original story quilts are considered information art. Her quilts combine art, craft, research, original design,history, and culture in traditional and contemporary pieces exemplifying a cross-disciplinary approach to quilt making. Allen's work often references American history, social issues, African folklore, or Black history. Many of her quilts are created specifically for storytelling presentations. Her handmade quilted journals usually incorporate recycled materials, fabric, and stitched paper elements.