Cal Poly exec quilts for exhibition for inauguration

Denise Campbell’s latest quilt is a study in celebration.

Supporters of President-elect Barack Obama dance, shout and cry with joy. One man stands with his arms in the air — one hand spelling out “I love you” in American Sign Language, the other clutching a BlackBerry phone. Inspired by the international reaction to Obama’s historic election, Campbell’s quilt is called “From Kenya to Kansas the World Rejoices.”

It will be displayed in Washington, D.C., as part of the exhibition "Quilts for Obama: Celebrating the Inauguration of Our 44th President."

"I'm just in awe of this honor," said Campbell, associate vice president for student affairs at Cal Poly.

She was invited in early November to join the show, sponsored by the Group for Cultural Documentation, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the Women of Color Quilters Network.

It’s not the first major accolade for the Arroyo Grande resident, a quilt artist and historian whose work can be seen in several books and in museums across the nation.

She belongs to an artistic tradition passed down by generations of women, Campbell, 53, explained. "(Quilting) has opened avenues for us as artists," said Campbell, who spoke Sunday at the San Luis Obispo Art Center. “There’s a lot to be studied and a lot to be learned about women’s art.”

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