PORT GIBSON, Miss. – The Crossroads Quilters received a Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts on Friday at a ceremony in Jackson. Crossroad Quilters, which includes about 20 active quilters, won the Heritage award for being “a group of women who have banded together to nurture, extend, and promote Mississippi’s heritage of traditional quilting.”

First Lady Melanie Musgrove presented the award, made from an Ostrich eggshell, to Mrs. Gustina Atlas and Mrs. Mary Ann Norton, two of 11 quilters who attended. “We are very happy to receive this award,’’ Mrs. Atlas told the packed crowd in the House Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum. As she and the other quilters acknowledged a standing ovation, Mrs. Atlas said: “That is a hard-working group of ladies.”

In addition to the quilters, another 15 people from Port Gibson attended the day-long festivities, which included recognition by the State Legislature, a luncheon with business leaders and a reception at the Governor’s Mansion. These included Port Gibson Mayor Amelda Arnold; Al and Libby Hollingsworth, of Port Gibson Main Street; and Mississippi Cultural Crossroads (MCC) board members Ruth Willis, Felicia Harried, and Lula Arnold.

Crossroads Quilters grew out of efforts by MCC to revitalize traditional quilting and promote its important cultural heritage, said Patty Crosby, director of MCC.

The organization won a Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1990 for its partnerships with the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors. “I always stand in awe of the artists from Mississippi,” said Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. “Mississippi artists, no matter how far from home they travel, remember their roots. Their creative souls are imbedded in Mississippi soil.”

Other recipients were: Sarah Gillespie, Arts Patron Award; John Palmer, Arts Patron Award; Hattiesburg Arts Council, Arts in Community Award; Stewart Family Pottery, Heritage Award; Andrew Lark, Arts Education Award; Sen. Thad Cochran, Arts Leadership Award; Larry Brown, Artist’s Achievement Award; and Charlie Musselwhite, Artist’s Achievement Award.

“The solutions to many of our state’s problems are in this room,” Arts Commission Executive Director Betsy Bradley told the luncheon audience. “(Public and private arts spending) is a good social investment but it is also good business.” Quilters met at the Capitol with Sen. Lynn Posey and Rep. Chuck “America” Middleton.

Quilts by Crossroads Quilters and other quilters from around the state can be seen starting today at Pieces and Strings, the 13th annual quilt contest and exhibition, at MCC. The show continues for Heritage Festival Weekend from Friday through Sunday, March 24-26, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The show will hang until April 28.


Patricia Crosby
Mississippi Cultural Crossroads
507 Market Street Port
Gibson, MS 39150

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