Sacred Threads

We have an exciting new opportunity for our artists to participate in a new exhibit opportunity.

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

Goldfinch Garden by Nanette Zeller

Here is some Updated News ....

We have had such a HUGE response to this call that we are looking at additional opportunites to travel this exhibit to quilt shows and musuems.

We will have two tracks. We will also have a special exhibit at Sacred Threads in July 2021 in Herndon, VA.

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

Backyard Escape is confirmed for:

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
May 2020 - July 2020

UChicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois
May - August 2020

International Quilt Festival Long Beach, CA
July 2020

Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg, VA
Fall 2020

University of Michigan Hospital - Taubman Gallery
March - June 2021

Ogallala Quilters’ Society, Midland, TX
April 2021

AQS Paducah, KY
April 2021

Sacred Threads, Herndon, VA
July 2021

AQS (locations TBD)
August 2021 and September 2021 shows

Artists: Are you ready to enter your artwork? Deadline to enter is March 1, 2020.

Backyard Escape Artwork Entry 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.
  • Return shipping costs will be the responsibility of the artist unless we get sponsorship for the exhibit. This detail will be sorted out later after we know more about the travel schedule.
  • Only one per artist.
  • There is no entry fee to enter. However, if a sponsor is not found for the exhibit, selected artists will be given an opporunity to make tax-deductible donation to help cover our exhibit shipping costs.


  • Interest Form (optional but helpful for planning) as soon as possible (no deadline).
  • Quilt Form with images of completed quilt by March 1, 2020
  • Notifications emailed by April 1, 2020
  • Selected quilts to arrive to Sacred Threads in Virginia, April 10, 2020
  • Opening May - July 2020 at NIH
  • Travel schedule to Chicago and Michigan dates TBD

Please fill out this form to let us know of your interest. There is no committment with filling out the form. It helps us build an interest list.

Artist Interest Form

Do you want to share this information? Please download this PDF Flyer to Share.

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

Thank you to our sponsors: