Hip Hip Hooray! Harlem Needle Arts Commissioned By MOFAD To Design And Create The Legacy Quilt

March 2, 2022

The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) presents African/American: Making the Nation’s Table, February 23–June 19, 2022. Tickets are on sale to the public at www.mofad.org.

The exhibit and Legacy Quilt will be on display at The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall, 1280 5th Avenue, New York NY 10029.

Harlem Needle Arts (HNA) are stewards of the centerpiece of the exhibit the Legacy Quilt. HNA was commissioned by the Museum of Food and Drink to take the lead to conceive, design and create the quilt which stands 14 feet tall and nearly 29 feet wide. The Legacy Quilt represents African American life and uses period-appropriate fabrics, 400 illustrations by noted graphic designer Adrian Franks, featuring blurbs on each block by writer Osayi Endolyn and quilted artwork by artists: Laura R. Gadson, Sylvia Hernandez and Ife Felix depicting traditions stitched together and interconnected across the Diaspora, space, and time, a selection of hundreds among countless stories of African life.

“It is an honor for Harlem Needle Arts (HNA) to be selected to bring to life the vision of lead curator Dr. Jessica B. Harris. This momentous exhibition is a recipe for the past with legacy of the future.

As the country grapples with the erasure of Black life in America, the exhibition is a testament to the countless contributions that Africans/Americans have made to the landscape of not only this country but to the world,” states Harlem Needle Arts Executive Director, Michelle Bishop, she adds, I have indeed blessed to champion this project and have the opportunity to work with three of the most talented visionaries in quilt art and textile storytelling, Laura R. Gadson, Sylvia Hernandez and Ife Felix. The Legacy Quilt will infinitely serve as an affirmation of the life-force of Black people and our continued commitment to always nourishing ourselves and our communities.”

Visitors are carried through four centuries of influence on agriculture, culinary arts, brewing and distilling, innovation and commerce. The movement of people—whether enslaved Africans across the Atlantic or over six million Black Americans from the South to the North during the Great Migration—and in turn, their food traditions across place and time, is a central theme of the exhibition.

Tickets for MOFAD’s African/American at The Africa Center are available for purchase at mofad.org.

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Harlem Needle Arts

Founded in 2005, Harlem Needle Arts is an arts and cultural organization at the forefront of revolutionizing, preserving, and expanding the narrative of fiber, textile, design, and needle arts in the African diaspora through exhibitions, education, technical support, economic development, and other tools. HNA is committed to sharing the histories of textile traditions from the African diaspora in order to foster growth amongst working artists, youth, and adults in the Harlem community. Harlem Needle Arts can be found online at: harlemneedlearts.org.

Michelle Bishop

As Executive Director of Harlem Needle Arts (HNA) Michelle Bishop incorporates her twenty-plus year career experiences in the areas of marketing, information technology, business planning, and fundraising to broaden the overall scope of Harlem Needle Arts (HNA) to represent a more inclusive role in the world of art and design.

She serves as curator, a technical support specialist for the novice, emerging, and established artists. Under her leadership, Michelle transforms the narrative to respect history, tradition, and culture but also represents the contemporary influences that continue to fuel the ever-expanding scope of the fiber constructionists.

Jessica B. Harris, Curator of Exhibit

Dr. Jessica B. Harris is widely considered the world’s preeminent expert on the foods of the African Diaspora. Dr. Harris is the author of 12 critically acclaimed books and was recently inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Hall of Fame. In 2012, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture engaged Dr. Harris to conceptualize and curate the museum’s cafeteria.


The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is launching the world’s first large-scale food museum with exhibits you can eat. MOFAD believes that food is culture. As the most universal aspect of human existence, it is a powerful lens for understanding ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

MOFAD is a new kind of museum that uses this power to create cultural change toward a more thoughtful, equitable, and delicious future.

The Africa Center

The Africa Center is transforming the world’s understanding of Africa, its Diaspora, and the role of people of African descent in the world.

Serving as the hub for the exchange of ideas around culture, business, and policy as related to the continent, and in the spirit of collaboration and engagement with individuals and institutions who share the Center’s values, The Africa Center inspires enthusiasm, advances thought, and action around Africa’s global influence and impact on our collective futures.

The Africa Center’s physical presence on Fifth Avenue at the intersection of Harlem and the Museum Mile embodies the dynamism and diversity of Africa and its Diaspora in the heart of New York City. Learn more by visiting www.theafricacenter.org.

Photo credit: ( L-R) artist Laura R. Gadson; Lead Curator Dr. Jessica B. Harris; Founder of MOFAD Dave Arnold; Founder and ED of Harlem Needle Arts Michelle Bishop; artist Sylvia Hernandez. Photo credit Blake Zidell.

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