Quilt project showcases artwork of Trenton middle school students

TRENTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- It's one work of art, filled with many others. A 48-square-foot altered-book quilt, carefully assembled by 180 students at Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School in Trenton. A myriad of little details, reflecting the many minds behind it.

"It's this tapestry of students, and this is a perfect example of our school. Because we are made up of all these different people from all these different places with all these different philosophies," said Principal Adrienne Hill.

The quilt came together thanks to the school's partnership with Bucks Air, a nonprofit that puts professional artists, like Colleen Attara, into classrooms to collaborate with students. This is Hedgepeth-Williams first year as a school of the arts, and their goal is to integrate arts into everything.

"Knowing that they're using materials that they probably have in their house, that was really important to me. Teaching them that anything can be art," said Attara, Colleen Attara Studio.

Thread, fabric, worn books, beads, paint. Attara, from Yardley, has a greeting card line, and is known for her work with recycled materials.

"Every student is going respond to materials differently. Some are going to like to draw, some are going to like to use the sewing machine," said art teacher Julie Simpkins.

She watched her students make the concept their own.

"She said just do what you do best, so I just did what I know. I just put pink on it, drew eyelashes, put lines around it," said 8th-grader Jahlil Ross.

"I worked hard on mine. I really put effort into mine. I glued this to a piece of paper right here, and I sewed all around it," said 8th-grader Cerrell Dixon.

From a stage, the piece will hang prominently in the school - something to admire, of course, but also serve as a reminder of some of the lessons they learned.

"Most important to me is the notion that we're beautiful on our own, but together we are far more beautiful," said Attara.


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