Rim Resident Helping Create Quilters Hall Of Fame

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Willene Smith of Strawberry is playing a key role in the formation the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame.

Organized as a non-profit entity, the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame seeks to celebrate the contribution of Arizonans to quiltmaking and educate the public about quiltmaking, its history and artisans.

The Rim Country claims one of the country's top quilters among its residents, Sharon Schamber. There are also three very active quilting groups in the area: the Strawberry Patchers, the Shoofly Quilters and the DPS Quilt Angels.

"After years of involvement in the local quilting community, I felt this was a concept whose time had come. As far as we know, only one other state, Pennsylvania, has a state-specific quilters' hall of fame," said Barbara Polston, the founder and president of the organization.

"I feel very honored and humbled to serve on this board and will do so with integrity," said Smith, when asked to serve on the founding board of directors.

"The total U.S. quilting industry value is $3.3 billion, with more than 27.7 million people engaged in quiltmaking across the country. Arizona enjoys a long history of quiltmaking, and an active quilt community has made significant contributions locally, regionally, nationally and beyond," said Polston.

The initial project of the organization will be to establish the Hall of Fame itself. Initially it will be a virtual entity, housed on the organization's Web site, www.arizonaquiltershalloffame.org.

Nominations for membership in the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame will be accepted beginning in March 2008. The nomination process will close on May 15.

Finalists will be named in June and the first inductees will be celebrated at a luncheon event on Sept. 28 at the Arizona State University West Campus in Glendale, Ariz. Those selected for inclusion in the Hall of Fame will receive an award. Their work will then be showcased on the Web site.

Those interested in quiltmaking are invited to join the Friends of the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame. Friends receive advance information about Hall of Fame activities, a Friends' pin and other incentives. More information about the group is available on the Web site, arizonaquiltershalloffame.org or by phone at (480) 961-5177 or contact Smith at (928) 476-3587 or e-mail her at quiltrladydps@msn.com.

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