Museum of Design Atlanta brings Welcome Blanket to new refugees

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) – the only museum in the Southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design – is partnering with the Welcome Blanket project to provide blankets as a “warm welcome” to new refugees coming to the United States, including those arriving from Afghanistan.  

Founded by Jayna Zweiman – also one of the designers of the pink pussy hat worn at the Women’s March in January 2017 – Welcome Blanket is a platform for engagement that transforms the abstract concept of immigration into a tangible crowd-sourced artistic action where crafters are invited to stitch, knit, crochet and weave blankets for new neighbors as a warm welcome to the United States. Along with the blankets, makers are invited to include a welcome note and share their immigration, migration and relocation stories

“Woven into the fabric of our country is a fundamental idea: our diversity, our multiple perspectives and our personal stories make the United States great,” says Zweiman. “The act of hand making a blanket and then writing down our individual immigration/migration/relocation stories shift the paradigm of our newest waves of refugees from ‘others’ to ‘one of us.’ It celebrates our complex individual and collective narratives. It stitches our individual histories to our shared future. Stitch by stitch, it knits us together.”

In Summer 2018, the Welcome Blanket project was part of MODA’s “Making Change: The Art and Craft of Activism” exhibition, and the museum received an overwhelming response, with hundreds of blankets received by mail – sometimes as many as 50 per day. To participate in this year’s project, makers can deliver or mail 40 x 40 blankets and welcome notes to MODA at Museum of Design Atlanta, “Welcome Blanket,” 1315 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309. As blankets arrive, MODA will photograph and catalog each one, then hang selected blankets in the museum’s lobby for visitors to enjoy before being delivered to newcomers via refugee-resettlement partners.

“We chose to host Welcome Blanket because of its power to connect people already living in the United States with our country’s new immigrants through stories and handmade blankets, providing both symbolic and literal comfort and warmth,” says MODA’s Executive Director Laura Flusche. “At the same time, the project offers a positive, hands-on way to confront negative rhetoric about immigration and to privilege the idea of inclusion over exclusion.”

Survival Architecture & The Art of Resilience” is also currently on display at MODA and will remain open through Sunday, January 16, 2022. Originally debuted in August 2021, the exhibition demonstrates design’s power to help us build resilience and find solutions to some of the 21st-century’s biggest challenges, including climate change and its many repercussions.

Curated by Randy Jayne Rosenberg of Art Works for Change (AWFC), the traveling exhibition spotlights the works of visionary architects, designers and artists creating real and speculative ways to answer questions like “What does it take to survive and thrive amid a changing climate?” and “How might we navigate the needs of the world’s most vulnerable citizens?”

Through a variety of innovative ideas – high-tech and low-tech, extravagant and affordable – the exhibition begins to address the challenges of excess heat, droughts, flooding, food insecurity, homelessness, biological disaster and earthquakes. To complement the in-person exhibition, MODA is hosting a variety of corresponding virtual programs. Learn more at www.museumofdesign.org.

About Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

Located within the Midtown Arts Corridor since 2011, MODA is the only museum in the Southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design. The museum defines design as a creative process that inspires change, transforms lives and makes the world a better place, an idea that informs all of its exhibitions and programs. MODA offers an extensive range of celebrated workshops, meet-ups, activities and camps for adults and children, and works to build a community that believes in the power of design to change the world. For more information, please visit www.museumofdesign.org or call 404.979.6455.

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