Grand Central Terminal
Competition Puts Quilting 
on the Right Track by Bob Ruggiero

In recent years, quilt displays have been seen in some unusual locales outside of the average quilt show, art gallery, or museum. But imagine the surprise on the faces of commuters in one of the country’s busiest transportation terminals in its most populous city when—while rushing to catch a train—they also saw 30 amazing works of fabric art.

That’s what commuters in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal got to enjoy during the Grand Central Centennial Quilt Show. The exhibit—which was on display from March through July of this year—commemorated the 100th anniversary of the GCT.

It was a collaborative effort between the City Quilter store in New York, American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, the New York Transit Museum, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

City Quilter owners Dale Reihl and Cathy Izzo were already aware of the Terminal’s landmark anniversary, as they are MTA licensees who produce the Izzo-designed fabric lines “NYC Subway Map” and “NYC Subway Dots.” Izzo created two more prints – “Grand Central” and “GCT Constellations” specifically for use in the contest.

“It made all the sense in the world to celebrate that amazing building’s anniversary in fabric,” Reihl says. “Cathy had two great new designs in
mind, but we needed a way to crystallize interest, and that led to the notion
of a competition.”

A 15-minute call from Reihl to Gabrielle Shubert, Transit Museum Director, guaranteed a venue for the finalists to the show. And Jennifer Keltner and Elizabeth Tisinger Beese of American Patchwork & Quilting came aboard
as media partners, putting out a call for entry in their magazine and on
their website.

The contest saw a total of 81 quilters enter their work using one of the new fabrics. They were then juried down to the final 30, which went on display. The quilts were scored by Reihl, Izzo, Keltner, and Beese for their workmanship, artistry, and the manner in which the artist’s relationship to Grand Central Terminal was executed in fabric.

“We were struck by how wonderfully diverse they were, and thus pleased that the broader public visiting the Terminal would learn that quilt art is as diverse as any other art form,” Reihl continues.

Still, as impressive as the quilts were in photos, they were many times
more in person.

“I had seen the finalists many, many times before seeing the actual display. But walking through that space and seeing them all together, lit beautifully and showcased as pieces of art. It was a thrill,” Beese offers. “I loved that people could get up close to the quilts and compare and contrast them.”

And though this exhibit may have already come down, Reihl already has hopes that the quilts can again be displayed for Grand Central Terminal’s bicentennial anniversary…in a mere 99 years.






Beese & Keltner
American Patchwork & Quilting editors Elizabeth Tisinger Beese and Jennifer Keltner at the exhibit’s opening.

Crowds enjoy seeing the Grand Central Terminal-inspired quilts at the Transit Museum.

Cathy & Dale
Cathy Rizzo and Dale Reihl of the City Quilter at the exhibit’s opening.

GCT Blue
Cathy Rizzo’s “Grand Central” fabric.

First Prize LIGAYA
First Prize winner Ligaya Siachongco in front of her quilt, Grand Central Terminal Mandala.

Grand Prize winner Time Flies, But We Take the Train by Amy Krasnansky

© 2014. A publication of Quintessential Quilt Media. No portion may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of Quilts, Inc.