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On this page:    About "Incest Survivors Speaking Truth to the Next Generation"

About the Survivor Quilt Project

The Quilts Themselves


About "Incest Survivors Speaking Truth to the Next Generation"

The goal of this quilt exhibit is to encourage a larger discussion about how parents, caregivers, and family members can speak truth about incest to the next generation in a way that is honest and protective, yet sensitive to the developmental needs of children. In this exhibit, we portray what we have learned as incest survivors about empowered versus fearful responses to telling others about our abuse. Through this, we hope to encourage others to be proactive in preventing the continuation of incest within family systems by confronting it thoughtfully and openly - through words, images, and discussion. Working with colors, textures, and images has been an enriching elaboration to our dialogue as individuals and groups. This exhibit of our work as survivors consists of five thematically connected art quilts.

"Incest Survivors Speaking Truth to the Next Generation" is a moving and powerful exhibit that gives voice to survivors, increases awareness of the devastation incest causes, promotes public discourse on a subject that remains taboo and is all too often intergenerational, and provides hope to victims. The exhibit had its public debut at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center in November and December of 2008, with an opening reception and panel presentation on discussing sexual abuse with children in age-appropriate and sensitive ways.

The quilts were on display at the State House from April 27th through May 1st of 2009 as part of "Violence Transformed," the arts component of the Annual Victim Rights Conference of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance. Since then, the exhibit has been shown at the Resnikoff Gallery at Roxbury Community College, at the World Trade Center, and at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge as part of Incest Resources' 30th Anniversary event. In October of 2010 the art quilts were presented at the Artist and Activist Conference at Lesley University.  In December of 2011 they were presented at an Art Therapy Workshop in Bulgaria at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia.  In 2013 exhibits took place at Lesley University, Cambridge College, and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.  Two open studios were offered in conjunction with exhibits to provide opportunities for community response to the art quilt collection and a reception and presentation on Expressive Arts Therapy and Trauma was also offered.  More exhibits and presentations will follow in 2014.


About The Survivor Quilt Project

The Survivor Quilt Project was founded in 2004 by Michelle Harris, LMHC, ATR-BC, artist, art therapist, trauma specialist, and incest survivor. This unique art therapy and public education project was developed in collaboration with Incest Resources, of which Michelle is a board member, and the Women's Center.

The Project's first quilt, sponsored by the Faith Quilts Project, was created by a group of incest survivors at the Women's Center who met during 2004 and 2005. The quilt depicts a series of women, beautifully honoring the different aspects of the quilters as incest survivors and as members of the broader community. After exhibits at the Cyclorama in Boston and at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, this first quilt came home to the Women's Center and was unveiled at a dedication ceremony in early 2007. Since that time the quilt has been joined by four other quilts created by the Survivor Quilt Project and the collection has been exhibited as "Incest Survivors Speaking Truth to the Next Generation."

This traveling exhibit had its public debut at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center in late 2008. The stunning quilts produced by the Survivor Quilt Project will continue to be shown at community events and art exhibits. Click here for upcoming dates and locations. The Women's Center and Incest Resources are very grateful to Michelle for her vision and are proud to sponsor the Survivor Quilt Project.

For more information about Michelle, please visit her web site, www.michelleharriscounseling.net. To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Survivor Quilt Project, please make checks payable to Incest Resources, with SQP in the memo section, and mail to Incest Resources, 46 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.


The Quilts Themselves

(click each image for a larger view and description)

Quilt 1: Incest Survivors' Interfaith Quilt

Artists: Michelle Harris, Collaborators wish to remain anonymous

Quilt 2: The Tree of Life

Artists:

  • Michelle Harris, Art Therapist, Facilitator of the Incest Survivor Quilt Project
  • Frances Grossman, Psychologist
  • K. L., Clinical Social Worker
  • Kathy Morrissey, Co-Founder of Incest Resources, Inc.
  • Elaine Westerlund, Psychologist, Co-Founder & Director of Incest Resources, Inc.

Quilt 3: My Mother's Journey

Artist: Constance Chamberlain

Quilt 4: Don't Fence Me In

Artist: Constance Chamberlain

Quilt 5: Balance

Artist: Michelle Harris