Craft + Color in the City: Rochester’s Corinthian Hall Craft Intervention
Color, yarn, quilt squares, fiber and a team of 40 volunteers became the catalyst for the Corinthian Hall Craft Intervention that transformed a parking lot near the Holiday Inn on State Street in Rochester on August 21, 2019.
The goal was to recognize and reclaim unmarked history at the spot where the women of the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Sewing Society (1851-1868) sold their handwork at this renowned city landmark to raise funds for the abolitionist cause. This social-reformist group was a core benefactor of Frederick Douglass, and they invited him to deliver remarks at Corinthian Hall. That speech became known as the iconic oratory, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” delivered at this spot on July 5, 1852.
[Read our crowd-sourced call for fiber art here! But please note that the deadline to receive submissions has passed.]
This group provided funds supporting 133 freedom seekers traveling through Rochester in 1855 and 1856, according to their annual reports.
Corinthian Hall was razed and became a parking lot in 1929. Yet a team of stitch volunteers, who assembled for this craft intervention, brought this site’s rich textile history back into full color. The group stitched hundreds of 7-inch-square swatches and flowers around the railing at the parking lot. Handwork contributions came from upwards of 150 people from across the U.S. The Corinthian Hall Craft Intervention, organized by Hinda Mandell and Juilee Decker of RIT, and in conjunction with the exhibition Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism, measures more than 100 feet long.
Corinthian Hall Craft Intervention’s Stitch Volunteers for Installation Day: