Friday, July 15, 2011

The Passing of Ardis James

Ardis Butler James 1925-2011

(photo courtesy IQSC)

We are all saddened by the passing of Ardis James on July 7.  Ardis was to have been inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame on Saturday July 16, together with her husband Robert, in Marion, Indiana. Friends and family will still gather in Marion to salute this remarkable woman, bearing witness to all her many accomplishments on behalf of quilts during the traditional open-mic salute of the new Inductee.   

The many years of the generous but quiet philanthropy of Ardis and Robert James has helped educate the larger public about quilts and at the same time helped sustain quilt artists, quilt history organizations, and researchers. The Jameses have helped build creditability and recognition for quilts in the largest sense of that word in both academic and art corridors. Truly, the larger international textile world has been touched by their commitment to “the quilt”, not just our nation.

The Jameses philanthropic activities eventually led to establishment of the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the creation of an endowed chair (Ardis James Professorship in Textile, Clothing & Design at the university), and the establishment and donation of one of the most outstanding private quilt collections in the world comprised of both antique and contemporary quilts. In addition, they provided significant annual support to both the American Quilt Study Group as well as the Studio Art Quilt Associates.

The New York Times' photo story can be found by clicking here. Below is a photo taken in their home in 2002.

(Credit: Chris Maynard for The New York Times)

The Alliance for American Quilts will most likely be releasing their video interview of the Jameses within the year. Watch for it to be posted here

Some have asked about sending flowers to the family. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in honor of Ardis.

Here are the details:

Checks should be made payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation with a notation that they are for the IQSCM Ardis James Memorial.

The address is:

University of Nebraska Foundation
1010 Lincoln Mall; Suite 300
Lincoln, NE 68508-2886

 Please  feel free to contact us if we can be of any assistance.

Karen B. Alexander
Past President