McCarl Gallery Plans Coverlet Exhibit on Legacies of Slavery July 2 to Jan. 11

by Public Relations | Jun 08, 2018

June 8, 2018

A coverlet from the McCarl Gallerys upcoming Blood Cotton exhibit

The Saint Vincent College Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery will present an exhibit, Blood Cotton: Legacies of Slavery and Exploitation in the Decorative Textile Industry from Monday, July 2, to Friday, Jan. 11. Sponsored by the McCarl Family Foundation, there will be an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. July 2 which is free and open to the public

“Thousands of visitors to the McCarl Gallery have appreciated the beauty and craftsmanship of woven coverlets and the machinery that produced them,” commented Lauren Churilla, curator. “Rarely, however, do they stop to consider the high cost, paid in human lives, of 19th-century cotton and textile production in the American South and the industry’s dependence on the enslavement of Africans.”

“Cotton grown in the South fueled the Northern textile mills,” she continued.  “The products of those mills were sold within the United States and abroad. Weavers relied on spun cotton thread from these mills and the demand for coverlets and other textiles drove the expansion of Southern slavery. This exhibit will juxtapose the visual magnificence of woven textiles with the inhumane realities of 19th-century cotton manufacture.”

This exhibit features images and artifacts from the McCarl Coverlet Gallery, the Senator John Heinz History Center, Little Beaver Historical Society and the Library Company of Philadelphia.

The Gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday evenings. Additional hours are available by appointment. There is no admission cost to visit the Gallery.

The McCarl Coverlet Gallery opened in 2008 and houses the lifetime collection of handmade American Jacquard woven coverlets of the late Foster and Muriel McCarl of Beaver Falls, which were a permanent gift to Saint Vincent College. Public exhibits of selections from the collection are shown throughout the year.

For further details, visit the McCarl Coverlet Gallery’s website,, or phone 724-805-2188.


Photo: A coverlet from the McCarl Gallery’s Blood Cotton exhibit


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