The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative was a national, grassroots charity whose mission was to raise awareness and fund research through art. It was created in 2006 by Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan. She was the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's. By time the AAQI had stopped soliciting funds at the end of 2013 it had raised more than $1.1 million for Alzheimer's research.
Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts During the eight years it was in existence, the AAQI auctioned or sold more than 15,000 small format art quilts, donated by quilters throughout the United States and overseas. They were called Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts, named for the urgent need for research dollars and the hope that quilters across the country would make participation in the project a priority. These small quilts (9" x 12") fit inside USPS flat rate cardboard priority mailers, which the AAQI used to ship quilts to winning bidders and purchasers.
July 2012 Auction Quilts
The AAQI also sponsored two major traveling exhibits:
Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece:
The exhibit included the work of 54 quilt artists from 30 states, plus one artist from New Zealand. The artists, many internationally renowned, offered poignant interpretations of the Alzheimer's experience in fiber.
Themes included imaginings of an existence stripped of memory and learning; gritty illustrations of the anger, frustration, and stress of care-giving; beautiful tributes to loved ones taken by Alzheimer's; and the anticipation of a future cure. Each artist statement was paired with a fact about Alzheimer's.
The exhibit traveled throughout the United States from August 2006 to October 2010. More than 300,000 people had the opportunity to see these quilts at 49 venues in 31 states.
Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope
It featured 182 "Name Quilts" six inches wide and seven feet tall, containing the names of more than 10,000 individuals who have or had Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia.
Hanging among the Name Quilts were 53 small format art quilts (9" x 12"). Each interpreted Alzheimer's in some way.
The AAQI is currently sponsoring five research projects. These will end shortly and the AAQI will cease all operations by the end of 2015. Our most sincere thanks to everyone who participated in this effort.