Q&A: Learn more about the Virtual Great Wisconsin Quilt Show – Register Today!

August 6, 2020 Alyssa Beno Leave a Comment

“Painting With Bob,” by Elizabeth Budd (Lewisville, Texas).

Join PBS Wisconsin and Nancy Zieman Productions for the ultimate virtual quilting experience! Register now for The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show, Sept. 10-12, an all-new, free online version of PBS Wisconsin’s annual quilt celebration. Visit quiltshow.com to register, view a full schedule of events, scope out quilt exhibit details, and explore the virtual vendor mall.

This year’s Great Wisconsin Quilt Show will be unlike any other. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the teams at PBS Wisconsin and Nancy Zieman Productions have been working hard to create an engaging, inspirational and educational experience for quilt and fabric lovers of all experience levels.

Attendees will be able to enjoy old favorites, like the annual judged and juried quilt contest, and new experiences, like the exclusive online premiere of the all-new documentary Nancy Zieman: Extraordinary Grace, coming to PBS Wisconsin in late 2020.

In advance of September’s Great Wisconsin Quilt Show, we spoke with Kristin Korevec, Special Events Manager at PBS Wisconsin, about the virtual experience, the new Nancy Zieman documentary, and opportunities to support community through quilting.

What can “attendees” expect with the virtual Quilt Show?

Kristin Korevec: The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show has always been about bringing people together around a love of quilting and providing inspiration and educational opportunities. The three main components of the virtual experience include interactive quilt exhibits, a virtual vendor mall and educational presentations. Additionally, we’ll share an exclusive premiere of PBS Wisconsin’s upcoming documentary Nancy Zieman: Extraordinary Grace and provide opportunities for participants to contribute to a community service project and a virtual community quilt. Our website will serve as the landing page for the virtual experience. Participation is free and accessible to all, though we are encouraging donations to help support PBS Wisconsin.

Tell us about the process of turning an in-person event into a virtual event.

It’s been an exciting challenge! We began by imagining how to re-create the most celebrated elements of the in-person event within a digital space. We especially wanted the experience to move beyond passive content and inspire connection, participation and mutual exchange. Once we had a vision and framework for the virtual experience, we engaged our digital team, who rebuilt the website with the functionality we wanted to include. Many other people at the station are involved: producers are capturing and editing pre-recorded video lectures, engineers are planning for the livestream presenter Q&A, and scenic designers are building the interactive quilt exhibits. Our event partners at Nancy Zieman Productions are also doing a lot, including coordinating the quilt contest jury process and receiving and preparing hundreds of quilts.

What are some of the unique opportunities you are able to offer in the virtual space?

I’m most excited about the accessibility offered by a virtual experience. We now have the opportunity to reach a lot more people who, for a variety of reasons, may not have been able to attend in the past. I was looking at the list of people who have already registered for the virtual experience, and it includes people from all 50 U.S. states, several Canadian provinces, Australia, England, Germany, Brazil and Belgium! We’ll be live-streaming the educational presentations and Q&A on both Facebook and YouTube, as well as at quiltshow.com. The videos will also be available to watch on demand afterward. There are several other unique opportunities within the virtual space. For example, we’re hosting a virtual vendor mall. For two hours each day, vendors will live stream video content such as product demos, tutorials and studio tours. Participants will be able to chat with vendors and move from one vendor’s stream to the next, much like booth-hopping at a physical vendor mall. I’d like to continue to offer some of these digital innovations even when we’re back to an in-person event as they will allow us to continue to broaden our audience.

Tell us about this year’s quilt exhibits.

We are setting up and capturing eight quilt exhibits, including our 10-category juried and judged quilt contest, youth quilts from the Social Justice Sewing Academy and a Bob Ross-inspired quilt challenge. For one week in mid-August, we’re using space in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center to set up exhibits, judge contest quilts, conduct appraisals, record and photograph the exhibits, and re-pack quilts for return shipping. Using a Matterport camera, our Scenic Design team will capture the exhibits and create an interactive, 3D walk-through. During the virtual experience, participants will be able to zoom in on quilt details, learn more about each quilt, watch interviews with select quilters, and vote for their favorite quilt for the Viewers’ Choice Award.

How can attendees best prepare for this virtual experience?

We recommend that people go to quiltshow.com, complete the simple registration form and start exploring. There are several things that participants can do now — contribute to a virtual community quilt, purchase event T-shirts and tote bags, schedule a quilt appraisal, view the event schedule and even set calendar reminders for the presentations they’d like to watch during the virtual experience.

What do proceeds from the event support?

The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show is PBS Wisconsin’s largest annual fundraising event. The funds we raise from the show help support PBS Wisconsin programs, events, education and community outreach. In this unique situation, however, we have chosen to provide a free and accessible experience this year. Our goals are to unite the quilting community, provide educational opportunities and help sustain our vendors. We want the show to come back even stronger next year, though, so we’re asking participants to consider donating what they can at quiltshow.com/donate.

What are some ways quilters can give back to the community through The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show?

Our community service project, Quilt to Give, has always been an important part of the event. This year, we’re inviting quilters to participate from home and use their skills to help others. During the week of Aug. 24-28, we’ll share project steps and guidance via social media. Finished bed-size quilts will benefit Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) and Enchanted Makeovers. Visit quiltshow.com/communityprojects and watch facebook.com/WIQuiltShow for details.

What can you tell us about the new documentary Nancy Zieman: Extraordinary Grace?

Nancy Zieman was an educator, entrepreneur and trailblazer who hosted Sewing with Nancy on public television stations for more than 30 years. Her inspiration and legacy extend well beyond sewing and quilting – she taught us how to live life with grace. Participants in the virtual experience will have the opportunity to be among the first to see the film, coming to PBS Wisconsin later this year. Advance registration for this exclusive premiere is available at quiltshow.com through Sept. 1.

Tell us about the Nancy Zieman 4-H Virtual Community Quilt.

The virtual community quilt is a project we’re offering in collaboration with Wisconsin 4-H to celebrate the upcoming premiere of the PBS Wisconsin documentary Nancy Zieman: Extraordinary Grace. We’re inviting quilters, sewists and fiber artists to contribute an image of a 6-1/2-inch fiber art square or quilt block along with a statement detailing how Nancy Zieman and/or 4-H impacted their fiber arts journey or career path. More information is available at quiltshow.com/communityprojects. The virtual community quilt will be shared during the virtual experience at quiltshow.com/digitalquilt.

How can event attendees stay updated on the quilt show?

The most up-to-date information is available at quiltshow.com. By registering for the virtual experience, you’ll be added to our email list to receive additional updates. On Aug. 15, we’ll post a PDF of the Virtual Experience User Guide to the website, which will include detailed information about how to access and navigate the virtual experience. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for information and updates.