Sacred Threads

As a part of our healing mission
we are passionate about art in hospitals.

Sacred Threads is pleased to announce an exciting outgrowth of our Backyard Escape project.

The INOVA Schar Cancer Institute - Fair Oaks (in Fairfax, VA), Radiation Oncology department, reached out to request new art quilts for permanent installation in their newly renovated space. The clinic staff choose 13 artists to create new works inspired by their Backyard Escape pieces. To view these artists and their Backyard Escape artwork, check out this gallery.

These new pieces will be framed and installed later this year. Check back for progress and images of the new artwork.

Congratulations to these 13 artists invited to participate: Kathie Briggs, Sarah Enstminger, Gina Gahagan, Nancy Hershberger, Barbara Hollinger, Olna Nebuchadnezzar, Bobbe Shipiro Nolan, Julie Rush, Elizabeth Saunders Morris, Christine Vinh, Nita Vono, Miki Willa, and Nanette Zeller.

Pictured on the right is Chair, Lisa Ellis in front of pieces created by Vivian Milholen and Carole Nicholas for the first Arts and Healing initiative made for the Inova Schar Cancer Institute - Fair Oaks in April 2014.

Backyard Escape is now traveling! To see where you can view pieces, please check the schedule below.

Enjoy this virtual gallery of all the quilts:

View Gallery

The catalog is now available for sale:

$24.99 plus $6.oo shipping and handling

Check out our Backyard Escape Virtual Catalog

Backyard Escape Sponsor

Backyard Escape is generously sponsored by Please visit the website at and shop for all your fabric and notion needs. donates 2% of all purchases to charity. is a long time sponsor and friend to Sacred Threads.

Backyard Escape Exhibit Schedule

The plan is to have multiple trunks going to different locations and then come together for our main exhibit at Sacred Threads.

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (34 pieces). This building is not open to the public at this time. The exhibit is for hospital staff and patients to enjoy. Only authorized personnel and patients are able to view the exhibit in person.  
August 16, 2020 - (Not sure of end-date, probably December 2020)

VIEW Gallery of NIH (28 hanging, 6 alternates to fill-in after sales)

Installation Photos from U Chicago Medicine:

UChicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois (60 pieces)
July 2020 - December 31, 2020

VIEW Gallery of UChicago (60 pieces)

Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg, VA (50 pieces)
September 8, 2020- December 19, 2020

View Gallery of VQM (50 pieces)

Heart Gallery in Toledo, OH (30 pieces)
January - February 2021

University of Michigan Hospital - Taubman Gallery (50 pieces)
March - June 2021

AQS Paducah, KY (Now Cancelled)
April 2021

Jacksonville Quilt Show
Now postponed to May 2021

International Quilt Festival Long Beach, CA
Funds from the sales will support the Shriners Hospitals for Children
Now postponed to 2021 - specific dates unknown

AQS (Now Cancelled)
August 2021 and September 2021 shows

Sacred Threads, Herndon, VA
July 2022

If you have any questions, please email Lisa Ellis at


If you missed the first round of deadlines and still wish to participate, its not too late. We will continue to take entries to replace pieces that sell. The first edition of the catalog includes all the quilts that were delivered by mid-August. Subsequent editions will include new quilts as they are added.

To submit your entry, please fill out this form:

Backyard Escape Artwork Entry Form

Hospitals, Museums and other exhibitors:

If you are a potential venue for Backyard Escape and would like to have this exhibit, please fill out our

Venue Travel Exhibit Interest Form

Here is the original message if you are visiting this webpage for the first time or checking out the details.

This exhibit will debut in 2020 at the National Institutes of Heath Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD (outside Washington, D.C.) and then travel to at least two more hospitals in the US.

Lisa Ellis (Sacred Threads Chair) and Barbara Hollinger (Sacred Threads Curator)

Seeking 18” w x 24 h” art quilts for hospital galleries.

Debuting at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD (outside Washington, D.C.) in the summer of 2020.

Additional venues to include the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI and UChicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.

What brings you peace in your backyard? Either real or imaginary, urban or rural, micro (e.g., blade of grass) or macro (e.g., expansive view of a lake). What brings you tranquility? The color palette, or the light in morning or evening. Let your imagination or your photo collection inspire you to create something beautiful for the hospital setting for patients and their families.

We are looking for a variety of artwork styles that express peace and tranquility whether in the very abstract or somewhere on the spectrum of realism.

A Few Specifics:

  • 18” (w) x 24” (h) (Portrait orientation only)
  • An art quilt is defined by Studio Art Quilt Associates as “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure”.
  • A brief artist statement, and descriptions of techniques and materials will be requested, for the curators view only. The hospital wall label will only include the title, and the artist name, and location. Let your artwork’s imagery stand on its own.
  • Artworks must be for sale. Hospital commissions support the hospital's missions. The NIH commission is a tax-deductible 20% and supports the Patient Emergency Fund which helps patients and families by providing short-term emergency funds during times of crisis or financial stress. It assists with participation in medical research by providing limited amounts of money for emergency food, clothing and shelter.
  • There is no made by date. 
  • All quilts must have a 4" sleeve on the back for hanging.
  • Quilts must also have a label on the back with artist name and title. Location and date completed are optional.
  • There is no entry fee to enter.
  • Due to our generous sponsor Sacred Threads will pay for return shipping to you at the end of the travel exhibit.

Thank you to our sponsors: