Katherine J Foran
103 Whitten Hall
Story source: Mary Simon Leuci, 573-882-2937
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Quilting is a perfect metaphor for community development, says Mary Leuci, director of engaged scholarship with the University of Missouri Office of Extension and Engagement. “Organizations, communities, individuals — each with their own separate visions and ideas — come together to create something larger than the sum of each part,” she says.
That is why a 7-by 8-foot quilt will command a place of honor through July 17 at the annual conference and 50th anniversary celebration of the Community Development Society. This year’s theme is “Coming Home to Cultivate the Future.” Appropriately, the conference is at MU, where CDS began 50 years ago with a mission to explore the relevance and responsibility of the community development field. Leuci is the local conference host co-chair.
Leuci first encountered a quilt-making event at an international 4-H exchange years ago. Four years ago, she adapted the idea for a community development/community arts workshop. Since then, more than 30 people have contributed panels to the CDS quilt, which will be on display during the conference at the MU Bond Life Sciences Center.
Leuci supplied fabric and markers and invited participants to portray on a quilt square what they value about community. With the help of her daughter, Lena Leuci, she continued the project, which was also a way of carrying on a family tradition, as her mother was a quilter too. A quilting group at the Immaculate Conception Church in Jefferson City also got involved.
“Quilting is such a part of Midwestern community roots and traditions,” Leuci says. “The background fabric was donated by a colleague in South Africa. This process — and all the different people and perspectives involved — is a model of community. The project can be used in so many other settings as a way for people to participate, express themselves, contribute, be part of creating something memorable and whole out of many visions and parts. That’s what creating community is all about.”
Community development professionals draw on knowledge from a variety of disciplines to help community members understand the issues that shape their communities and empower them to effect change, Leuci said.
While the society is celebrating its 50-year history, it is also looking ahead. Futurist Chet Sisk headlines the conference’s closing session, 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, at Bond Life Sciences Center’s Monsanto Auditorium. Sisk is an author, speaker and the founder of Universal Basic Resources, an organization that provides community groups with technological resources for managing current and emerging challenges, including climate change, income inequality and advanced technology.
“CDS is more relevant now than ever before given the complexities of 21st century life and work,” says Jane Leonard, CDS vice chair of programs and a member of the community faculty at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn. “Our members represent a variety of fields and sectors—public, private, philanthropic and nonprofit—all united by our belief in the strength and wisdom of community-led community development.”
For more information, visit www.comm-dev.org.
- WHAT: Community Development Society 2019 annual conference and 50th anniversary celebration.
- WHEN: Through July 17.
- WHERE: Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri campus, Columbia.
Photos available for this release:
More than 30 people contributed panels to a quilt marking the 50th anniversary of the Community Development Society, which was founded at MU. The quilt is on display July 14-17 at the MU Bond Life Sciences Center.
Quilting is a perfect metaphor for community development, says Mary Leuci, director of engaged scholarship with the MU Office of Extension and Engagement.
Photos available for this release:
Cutline: More than 30 people have contributed panels to a quilt marking the 50th anniversary of the Community Development Society, which was founded at MU. The quilt is on display July 14-17 at the MU Bond Life Sciences Center.
Cutline: Quilting is a perfect metaphor for community development, says Mary Leuci, director of engaged scholarship with the MU Office of Extension and Engagement.