Oakwood Arts' East End Quilt Collective explores and celebrates the history of our neighborhood and East End Cemetery using art and technology.

The Project

Over the next year, we will host a series of multigenerational community programs centered on East End Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground just minutes from Oakwood Arts and the surrounding East End neighborhood. These will include tours, presentations, and workshops and will culminate in the creation and exhibition of a large-scale collaborative art piece: a quilt of handmade cyanotype images representing East End's rich legacy.

This summer, aspects of our classes at our partner organizations, Blue Sky Fund and the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School, involved the documentation of the landscape while delving into the history of the cemetery and the community it served. This spring, we will be partnering with the Salvation Boys & Girls Club to begin to research and design an exhibition for the final piece. Other participants will concentrate on researching the site and creating digital negatives of historical photos tied to East End Cemetery under the guidance of longtime cemetery volunteers. These archival images will be used to print photorealistic cyanotypes on fabric, which will then be pieced together using a mix of hand and machine sewing. We hope to work with seniors and other members of the community to design and assemble the quilt, keeping in mind traditions native to our region.

Our Collaborators

Oakwood Arts will be collaborating with Brian Palmer and Erin Hollaway Palmer, professional journalists and founding members of the Friends of East End Cemetery, will begin guiding program participants through the history and sociopolitical terrain of the cemetery.

Unicia Buster, a textile artist and graphic designer, is also working alongside us to oversee the production and assembly of the quilt.


We have rescheduled our cyanotype workshop for Saturday November 17th! Come out to 50 Evergreen Rd and make a fabric sun print to add to our collaborative community quilt celebrating the history of Richmond’s East End Cemetery! There will be a walk and talk at 10:30am with Erin Hollaway Palmer from Friends of East End. Free to all ages!

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Stop by this Saturday at East End Cemetery and create your own square to add to our community quilt! We will be making fabric cyanotypes from 9am-12pm and holding a tour with Erin Hollaway Palmer from Friends of East End at 10:30am! Free for all ages! CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER



East End Quilt Collective: Peter Paul Field Day
October 6, 2018

Oakwood Arts spent the morning at the Peter Paul Development Center’s Community Field Day! Students and their families stopped by our table to design a quilt square as part of our ongoing collaborative quilt project.

East End Quilt Collective: Cyanotype Workshop
August 18, 2018

Oakwood Arts hosted a cyanotype workshop at East End Cemetery, involving both the creation of fabric cyanotype quilt squares as well as some clean-up and restoration of the surrounding areas alongside Friends of East End. The quilt squares made at this event and at future workshops will ultimately serve as material for a community-made collaborative quilt. 


East End Quilt Collective: First Informational Meeting
August 14, 2018

This was the first of a series of conversations about East End Cemetery, the community it served, and the years-long effort to restore it. Founded in 1897, East End is the final resting place of thousands of African American Richmonders. The first talk, by restoration volunteer and advocate Erin Hollaway Palmer, highlighted the history of the cemetery, the forces that contributed to its decline, and the people working to reclaim it from nature and neglect. We also introduced our own arts-based approach to the restoration and commemoration of this vital community site.


You can stay up to date on this project through our weekly and monthly events, as well as by signing up for our newsletter or following our Instagram or Facebook pages.


sponsored in part by the Cultural Equity Grant