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The Voices of Appalachia in Art show aimed to convey the complexity of this region through art.

Voices of Appalachia in Art

Artists tell stories of a complex and varied region


By Kimberly Palmiero

A quilted housecoat with a woman’s bikini-clad torso is not quite your grandma’s homewear.

But artist Natalie Baxter was inspired by memories of her grandmother padding around the house in the casual, comfy attire of the day.

Baxter, born in Kentucky, is one of 10 artists and groups whose work is on exhibition at Denison Museum, on the campus of the college by the same name, in Ohio.

“Natalie was trying to make art while at home and she started making these housecoats. These are oversized, they’re huge, and what’s alluring about them is they are colorful and they are fun. It opens up conversations about women’s bodies, and about women’s work,” said Megan Hancock, senior curator of education and exhibitions at Denison.

The show ran through April 10 in Granville — but you can also see many of the pieces online.

Appalachia, as defined by the federal government, spans 13 states from the southern edges of New York to northern Georgia and Alabama.

The show aims to convey the complexity of this region that’s been often stereotyped.

One artist used drought-resistant flaxseed found in the area to weave fiber for a skirt. Climate scientists, in turn, will use her work as a jumping off point to discuss climate change, which is causing shifts in weather patterns.

“Rather than rely on tired stereotypes of this region’s struggles, this exhibit draws on the talents of artists, writers, filmmakers, and everyday people,” said Hancock. “I love the fact that some of these are for professional artists, and some are not.”

Natalie Baxter was born in Lexington, Ky., where she discovered her love of sewing and quilting. Baxter received her master of fine arts from the University of Kentucky and bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of the South in Tennessee. She lives in Wassic, N.Y., and has been featured in exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad.

Black in Appalachia is a nonprofit that highlights the history and contributions of African Americans and their culture.

Kimberly Palmiero is CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Postindustrial Media. Reach her at

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