Some of you may have heard…. A group of 8 different traveling loan exhibits went missing from the Mancuso Quiltfest Oasis show in early October and were never hung. They included two exhibits from Quilts On The Wall Fiber Artists, one from the Southern California region of SAQA and five others. I had pieces in both of the QOTW shows – Maps and Shadows.
All 8 of the individual exhibits were shipped via UPS to the Mancuso’s decorating company in California and were delivered and signed for. It is believed that all 8 were put on the same pallet to be trucked to the Palm Springs Convention Center for the Show which opened on October 10, 2015. They never arrived.
My husband and I drove from LA to Palm Springs to see the show and my pieces in it, and we were very disappointed to find the photos above. I visited again the following day, but still no quilts. By the end of the weekend, the quilts – approximately 100-120 of them were still not hung. Four of the shows were to be sent north to the Mancuso’s Pacific International Quilt Festival, but were not hung there either.
"A La Carte", 2013 - Printed imagery of Le Chateau de Vaux Le Vicomte over a plan of Le Notre's famous garden. Fused applique with sewn embellishments and three dimensional leaves.
Disappeared from Quiltfest Oasis, October, 2015
To date, none of the 100 + quilts have been found. Warehouses , trucks, freight terminals and the Convention Center have been searched. Security footage has been scoured. The Mancuso organization has offered a $5000 reward to the employees of the decorating company and the freight terminal in hopes they will turn up. So far, nothing. It now seems that no system of bar coding was used, making an electronic search impossible. We have been told that all 8 boxes still had their original UPS labels and tracking numbers intact, so if someone finds any of them they might get back to their owners.
Meanwhile the Mancuso organization is beginning the insurance process, though at this point I’m not sure what that will mean to individual artists. They also suggest that artists search Ebay and Etsy and post their quilts on websites devoted to finding lost and stolen quilt websites.
I am rather surprised that there has not been more discussion of this issue on the net. No one involved has posted to the SAQA group or to Quiltart that I have seen… The safety of all our artist’s work is of utmost importance and I thought might have started a lot of dialog.
To say that I am disappointed, heartbroken and angry is, of course, an understatement. I am mourning my lost quilts, but hoping beyond hope that they will still be found. Whenever I send an art quilt – a piece of myself - off to a show or exhibit, my heart is always in my mouth until I know that it has arrived. As artists, we have to trust the organizations to which we send our pieces to use all care and diligence in safeguarding them. What happened in this case, after the pieces arrived at their destination is unknown, but it certainly makes me think about to whom I will trust my work in the future