Prairie Quilt Guild was founded in 1982 by Merilyn Austin, Becky Cook, Judy Ermey, Nancy Hornback, Norma Johnston and Ann Martin. The first meeting took place in June with about one hundred members. In 2005 our membership had grown to over 700 members. The Guild’s purpose is to promote and advance the art of quilt-making by conducting educational programs and services in the art, and to foster research in the history of the art.
PQG has contributed to the community by making many quilts and wall-hangings which have been donated to Wichita’s Ronald McDonald Houses, the Shelter for the Homeless, Friends of the Senior Services, the American Red Cross, Quilts of Valor and the Linus Project. Other service projects include prize money at the Kansas State Fair, and the Old Sedgwick County Fair at Cowtown. Quilting books have been donated to regional libraries by PQG, and quilts have been made for many of the families who lost their homes in the 1991 Andover tornado, the Greensburg tornado and the Chapman tornado.
PQG received the Wichita Community Theater’s Civic Service Award for 1985-86 for making the 17’ square quilt and props for their production of the play Quilters.
Among our members are numerous nationally-known quilters, speakers and writers who have been featured in magazines and books, and who have won many regional and national prizes at quilt shows and fairs.
PQG has sponsored a quilt show since 1984. In even-numbered years we have a “big” show. Starting with the Sunflower Challenge Project in 1993 the Guild has participated each year in the Wichita Garden Show at Century II Convention Center with quilt displays. Other shows of note have been a benefit exhibit of about 100 quilts for Botanica and two separate one-woman exhibits of quilts by members Lillie Webb and Diane Lane. We have also added a Quilt Room Tour featuring members’ special stitching areas.
With money raised by the miniature quilt auction of the 1998 show “Baltimore Comes to the Prairie”, a grant program was instituted, open to school teachers in Wichita and surrounding school districts. Impressive results have already been demonstrated by the students who have benefited from this project. This program has been expanded to include other organizations and age groups.