Powerful Art Exhibit in Waite Park and Upsala

The Waite Park and Upsala Public Libraries are sharing a powerful art exhibit during February titled “and still counting….” The exhibit, a series of colorful quilt squares, is a memorial to the U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraq War. Artist Caron Lage, who works as a branch assistant at Waite Park's Al Ringsmuth Public Library, initiated the project in the spring of 2007 after seeing photos of a display at Reed College in Portland Oregon using flags to memorialize the war casualties.

Each library is exhibiting a portion of the quilt project. There are 496 blocks displayed in Waite Park and 435 in Upsala. Each six-inch quilt square represents one American service person who has died in the war. On each block are 212 black beads or French knots representing the Iraqis who have died. The bright colors represent the many races, creeds, and the uniqueness of the individuals. For the stitches and beads, black is used as the symbolic color of death.

This ongoing project is featured in the recently released book, "Quilting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time" by Katherine Bell. The project can be viewed through February at both libraries during their open hours.